Tag Archive | Iron Age

Rings that remind me of things: Part 16

Part 16 of an occasional series about rings in my Etsy shop that remind me of things.

Ring:

1977 tiger’s eye ring with a shield shaped head, Birmingham hallmark. For sale in my Etsy shop: click on photo for details.

Thing:

Miniature Iron Age copper alloy shield (65 mm by 35 mm), part of the Salisbury Hoard found at Netherhampton, near Salisbury, Wiltshire, and now in the British Museum.

So far I have had rings that remind me of an Iron Age hillfortan alien spaceshipa cream horna radio telescopeNoah’s Arkan octopus tentaclespider eyesPluto and its moon Charonthe rings of SaturnThe Starry Night by Vincent Van Goghsome lichenthe stepped Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara in Egypt, the Quality Street ladya herb knife and a sea anemone.

Is it a ring, is it a hillfort?

A vintage modernist moonstone and sterling silver ring:

Ring.

Ring.

Cadbury Castle, Somerset, an Iron Age hillfort, as drawn by William Stukeley, 15 August 1723:

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Iron Age hillfort.

As an archaeologist, I tend to see archaeological-related shapes everywhere: the ripples in a pond are the conchoidal ripples on the ventral surface of a flint flake; the tarmac repair in a pavement over a service trench is a prehistoric ditch, waiting to be excavated; the fruit and nuts in Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut Chocolate are the inclusions in coarse Bronze Age pottery (okay, maybe I’m getting a bit carried away here …)

So it’s no great surprise I suppose that when I saw this ring, the first thing I thought of was the famous Stukeley engraving of Cadbury Castle (which he called Camalet Castle: it’s near the villages of West Camel and Queen Camel, and local tradition holds that it is the site of King Arthur’s Camelot). I have a copy hanging in my study and love it very much.

Cadbury Castle, just to the south of the A303. The enormous earthworks show up much better in the winter, when there is no foliage on the trees. 26 April 2009.

Cadbury Castle, photographed from the A303. The enormous earthworks show up much better in the winter, when there is no foliage on the trees.  As you can see, there is some artistic licence in the Stukeley version of this view … 26 April 2009.

I drive past Cadbury Castle frequently, as it is just to the south of the A303. I remember as a child being taken to the excavations there one summer when we were holidaying in the south-west, and the Iron Age body sherds were being sold for 3d a piece (I think it was) with a sign saying the proceeds would go to the diggers’ beer fund. I bought a couple of sherds and they were my treasured possessions for a long time. Until I lost them, and promptly forgot about them, as kids do.

It’s a great spot for a walk too, and always very empty of people. There is a terrific view of Glastonbury Tor from the hillfort.

Cadbury Castle. View from the top of the ramparts. 24 January 2010.

Cadbury Castle. View from the top of the ramparts (Glastonbury Tor sadly out of shot). 24 January 2010.

And as for the ring, it’s for sale in my Etsy shop.

UPDATE: 18 March 2015 – the ring has now sold. Sorry!