Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall at sunset

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ancient Jewels

I use historical research to drive much of the plot for my historical novels, which means that I usually don't know how the story is going to end until I get there.

As I mentioned before, I love archaeology and the study of ancient civilizations. Many of the artifacts that people use in my stories have come from historical finds.

In my second book, Eleri's Tale, the British chieftain Coroticus' wife, Minacea, is dressing for an important banquet. The gold body chain shown above is a piece currently in the British Museum in London. It was part of the Hoxne hoard, found buried in Hoxne, Suffolk, England in 1992.

The hoard was buried in the 5th century and the piece itself dates to the late 4th century.

It contains an oval setting of gold for 9 gems:a central amethyst, 4 garnets and probably 4 pearls, which had long since decayed when the body chain was found.

This is the body chain that Minacea puts on as the finishing touch to her outfit for the banquet.

It is an exceedingly rare piece, and in marvelous condition considering that it's about 1600 years old!


  1. I've always been amazed at the craftsmanship seen in ancient jewelry. The pieces are so intricate! They must have had similar tools just more primitively made, I guess. (I'm showing my ignorance.) Was this worn instead of a necklace? I saw so much and it was such a long time ago, but I am sure my mother, grandmother and I would have visited the British Museum while in London.

  2. Julie: This piece was designed to be worn on the chest. The central amethyst would have nestled beteen the breasts and the arms would go through the loops and connect in back. I didn't mention it in the post but at the back the chains were connected with a gold coin.


I'd love to hear from you and I promise to write back!