The Shropshire bulla
- Art Funded
- Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
This remarkable gold pendant is one of the most significant Bronze Age objects ever discovered in Britain.
The bulla (an antiquarian term derived from the Latin for bubble) was found by a metal detectorist in Shropshire in 2018.
An unknown artist made the bulla around 1000BC. It is skilfully crafted in sheet gold from four separate components and has a hollow centre. The final form creates the illusion that the pendant was draped over the cord that suspended the piece around the wearer’s neck.
The exquisite designs on the bulla, particularly on the most elaborately decorated side, are strongly suggestive of solar symbolism, a key element of Bronze Age cosmology. The radiating patterns of triangles are a well-established motif in solar imagery on objects found in Britain and Continental Europe from this time.
Thanks to the extremely high quality of the craftsmanship, the Shropshire bulla can be considered alongside other masterpieces of the same period from France and Germany. It now becomes an object of outstanding significance in the British Museum’s European Bronze Age collection.
The bulla was found on 12 May 2018 in a field on Hawkswood Farm, West Felton, Oswestry in Shropshire, during the course of metal detecting with the permission of the landowner. It has passed through the Treasure process with the case number 2018T343.