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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Coiled Armlet
Work Type
7th century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe
Orientalizing period
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

6.9 x 6.9 cm (2 3/4 x 2 11/16 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Artax 1
Alloy: Bronze
Alloying Elements: copper, tin
Other Elements: lead, iron, arsenic
K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: The smooth, dark brown-black islands between the larger swaths of raised-green and recessed-red cuprite corrosion products are areas of well-preserved original surface. Some burial accretions remain on the inner surface as well. The outer layer of the object is, for the most part, heavily corroded.

The armlet is made of one continuous coil of metal with a slightly convex inner surface and a rounded outer one, which is slightly faceted on the sides. The tips of the wire are slightly tapered and rounded at the ends. It is difficult to say exactly how this object was shaped, although it would make sense for it to have been hammered.

Francesca G. Bewer (submitted 2012)


Recorded Ownership History
Louise M. and George E. Bates, Camden, ME (by 1971-1992), gift; to the Harvard University Art Museums, 1992.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Louise M. and George E. Bates
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
This coiled armlet or hair spiral consists of 11 coils, flat on the interior and convex on the exterior. It was presumably cast in one long rod and then repeatedly annealed to give it the spring-like torsion that it still possesses. While exact attribution of this object is uncertain, it is likely that this spiral was one of a pair, perhaps intended to hold the braids or locks of a woman’s long hair. Its use, however, as a cuff or wrist armlet cannot be ruled out. The date is most likely in the eighth or early seventh century BCE. It could equally well have been made somewhere in the southeastern Balkans or northwest Asia Minor (1).


1. For comparison, see M. Andronikos, Βεργίνα 1: Το νεκροταφείον των τύμβων = Vergina 1: To nekrotapheion tōn tymvōn, Vivliothēkē tēs en Athēnais Archaiologikēs Hetaireias 62 (Athens, 1969) 241-43; pls. 86.g, 88.a, 99.q, 103.g, 108.a, 114.d, 115.d, 120.k, 121.a, 125.d, and 131.d [in Greek].

David G. Mitten

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at