Copper earring

Early Bronze Age
2050-1900 B.C.
Świniary Stare
Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship
Diameter: 24-25mm
Wire thickness: 1-2mm
Width of the tape: 10-12mm

The copper earring on display has the form of a coiled willow leaf. Made of copper wire. It was hammered flat and coiled spirally from about the wire’s mid length. The artefact was discovered on a burial site of the people representing the so-called Mierzanowice culture. Together with four other earrings of a similar shape, it was a gift presented to a woman buried in the grave. The earrings were arranged next to each other on the head of the deceased. Ornaments of this type were discovered on the burial site in Świniary Stare, where dozens of graves were explored, however they were found in only two of the graves. This is a rare and valuable find. Earrings may have belonged to representatives of the social elite from three thousand years ago. They are examples of the oldest jewellery for women made of metal in Małopolska during the Bronze Age.

This earring originates from the Early Bronze Age, from the turn of the third and second millennium before Christ. It was fashioned by hand from copper wire in the following way: the metal was molten, to form a wire two millimetres thick, a fragment of which was flattened to form a one centimetre tape. The entire piece was coiled in a spiral shape. The object produced is two and a half centimetres in diameter.
The spiral-shaped earring resembles a ring. It is thin at one end and widens from half way along. The copper has become covered with a green-and-grey patina called verdi-gris.
Earrings were an element of a woman’s costume. They were most probably threaded on a headband. Such ornaments were placed in the temple areas in front of the ears – hence their name.
The artefact was discovered in a grave in the locality of Świniary Stare near Sandomierz in 1960. It is a rare and valuable example of the oldest jewellery for women produced from metal in the Bronze Age in Małopolska.
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