Phalera
Hoard, Chao de Lamas, Spain
300-150 BCE
10.7 cm. diameter
Silver with embossed gold lug
Madrid, Museo Arqueológico Nacional

This unique phalera is covered in hammered-out geometric patterns reminiscent of Etruscan design. The main band of design consists of ten connected s-curves. The pattern resembles a series of waves that move clockwise or counter-clockwise depending on the negative space one’s eye defines. The outer series of waves is traced by a line of tiny dots. In the troughs of these waves are small bosses. The outer edge of the phalera is lined with a series of short, tightly-spaced diagonal lines. Another series of thicker short lines flanks the outer edge and encloses the band of design. These two series of lines are repeated on the inside edge of the wave-patterned band. Protruding from the center of the phalera is a large lug. Its gold center is framed by a band of silver coil. The design in gold is a modified swastika, its arms stylized to match the wave pattern of the phalera’s main band. Its outer waves are filled with tiny punched dots, while the inner waves remain pristine. The center of the design is marked with a small, shiny boss.

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