Lock ring

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A lock ring found in Rutland, Britain, c. 1150 - 800 BC. Weight: 4.12g

A lock ring is the name given by archaeologists to a type of jewellery from Bronze Age Europe. Their use is uncertain; they may, as the name suggest, have been used in hair.[1]


The rings are penannular, providing a slot that is thought to have been used for attaching them as earrings or as hair ornaments. The technology at the time used a slot in the metal to lock the ring to a jewel.[citation needed]

The rings have a hollow triangular cross-section, closed with a binding-strip.[2] Their faces may be plain or decorated with incised concentric lines, apparently mimicking the much rare construction from gold wire. Gold was used for the majority of lock rings that have been found, though other artifacts constructed out of bronze, or clay, gold and bronze composite have been found.


Lock rings have been found in modern-day Ireland, France, and Great Britain. Ireland was a centre of production in the British Isles though rings were made and used across the continent, notably by the Unetice culture of Central Europe.


  1. ^ Miller, Mark (7 July 2018). "Bronze Age gold rings of a high-status person found in Wales". www.ancient-origins.net.
  2. ^ "Lock-Rings". The Portable Antiquities Scheme. The British Museum.