Two years ago police discovered a hoard of ancient gold objects in a dumpster in Dublin. Now the significance of their find has become evident.
What they found, wrapped in a sheet of paper, were two gold discs and an early Bronze Age lunula: a crescent-shaped collar from 4,000 BC. The ornaments had been in a safe stolen from a pharmacy in Strokestown, and the thieves apparently didn't notice the gold treasures.
The objects, which were nearly reburied in the dump, were first dug up from a bog at Coggalbeg in 1945, but their significance was never fully understood until now. What was interesting was that the lunula and the discs were found together.
“It’s the first time ever that we have an association between the discs and the lunula, because the discs would be considered amongst the earliest gold ornaments and the lunula as coming a little bit later,” Mary Cahill of the National Museum of Ireland told the Irish Times.
The appearance of the objects together suggests they may have functioned as part of the same set of regalia, with the discs representing the sun and the lunula the moon.
The vast majority of gold lunulae found in Western Europe come from Ireland, and, says the Irish Times, are thus the first strong evidence we have of a distinctively Irish cultural form.