This is a rather charming early Saxon ladies gold finger ring, dating to the 5th - 6th century A.D. The type is known and well documented from a variety of archaeological contexts, see here, mainly dated from the late Roman to early Saxon period. The ring is made from gold strips, twisted together to form a wire. The wire has then been coiled into an intricate interlaced (wave like) design. The ends then wrapped around eachother to form the shoulders. This ancient gold ring would have been worn by a lady of substance, likely an elite/noble member of society or of royal descent. The wave formation may have held magical significance, or acted as a means of protection.
A very similar example in copper alloy can be found in MacGregor and Bolick 1993, no. 27.20, found in Ixworth churchyard, Suffolk. Although not from a secure context, it has similarities with a group of coiled spiral-bezel rings well known from early Anglo-Saxon graves of the sixth and seventh centuries, mostly in Kent; good examples come from Buckland Dover (Evison 1987, grave F; Parfitt and Anderson 2012, graves 250 and 298) and Finglesham (Hawkes and Grainger 2006, grave 58). Another copper-alloy example was found in pre-14th-century topsoil at the site of Middleborough, Colchester (Crummy 1983, no. 1757). Guiraud, in her study of Roman finger-rings from Gaul, illustrates a very similar example as part of her Type 6 (1988, fig. 37, no. 6e). It is therefore difficult to assign a date to it, beyond the range of Roman to early early-medieval. One can be seen here, from Wessex Archaeology from a Roman context. the same design found on Gallic brooches here. Those dated as Viking have no basis in the archaeological record.
This ancient ring has survived in excellent excavated condition, intact and wearable.
OBJECT: Finger Ring
CULTURE: Late Roman - early Saxon
DATE: c. 5th - 6th century A.D.
RING SIZE: 7 1/2 (US) P (UK)
SIZE: 26.10mm x 2.66mm
WEIGHT: 3.79 grams
PROVENANCE: Ex. Private collection, Netherlands.
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