So hat tip to La Senora Biblioni for linking to this.
|Tablada del Rudron (Museo de Burgos via Fitzpatrick, Doce, Vazquez 2016)|
Very briefly, the items we are discussing are properly called "basket earrings" despite the fact that no one believes they are earrings. They were called early-on based on their pairing, relation to the head from a single burial and the semi-resemblance to Bronze Age Trojan basket earrings.
Andrew Sherratt torpedoed the earring idea, but his hypothesis that they were tresses had as many problems; notably their open-circumference, wafer thinness, delicate-to-ineffectual tongue, paring...and that fact that native Britons have thin, flaxen, oily hair and that British males have very high incidence of frontal thinning, or a receding hairline.
One hypothesis I've put forward is that their circumference, shape and pairing could indicate they attached to the quill of large ornamental feathers [here] similar to Bronze Age Libyans. The irregular shape of the Amesbury pairs look somewhat similar to the cross-section shape of an eagle flight feather. Other bird feathers like Ostrich are possible as well (maybe Orbliston). Given that depictions of Bronze Age Libyans are only shy of contemporary to British Beakers, and the fact that many of them literally had, to some extent, Beaker heritage I think this is a plausible possibility.
The material connections between Burgos and Southern Britain (to include these basket earrings) could be interesting when the isotopic and genetic evidence is released [here]. It's possible that these connections go well beyond trade. Seldom mentioned is a Polish basket, nearly identical to Tablada del Rudron, however it was lost in WWII.
Interesting out-take, though a little off topic:
"...but in the second half of the third millennium cal BC many of them [megalithic tombs], despite having been damaged during the passage of time, were re-used for Bell Beaker burials...This practice, which was quite frequent in the megalithic tombs of Iberia, has been interpreted as an attempt of the incipient Beaker elites to legitimate their position. In order to do so, they would have created a “fictitious genealogy” to link themselves to the sacred lineage of the ancestors..."This sounds like a highbrow explanation but this almost standard human behavior. Take almost any intrusive dynasty of the ancient world and you'll find a monumental effort to create legitimacy through real or imagined ancestries, co-opting royal burial locations and an attempt to weave itself into the national mythology of another. Perfectly plausible that Beakers were writing themselves into the local histories of others, especially if they were trying to legitimize their right to dominance in various aspects.
Bell Beaker connections along the Atlantic façade: the gold ornaments from Tablada del Rudrón, Burgos, Spain
Fitzpatrick, Guerra Doce, Vazquez (2016) [Link]
The gold ornaments from a well-furnished burial in the Bell Beaker tumulus at Tablada del Rudrón, Burgos, in northern Spain are very similar to ornaments best known in Britain and Ireland. The insular ornaments, which were either earrings, tress rings or parts of headdresses, have been found in well-furnished graves of the 24-23rd century BC and were symbols of high status. Although the Tablada del Rudrón ornaments are similar to finds from England, they are not identical and their decoration is related to those on a different type of object found in Ireland. This fusion of ‘similar but different’ reflects the nature of the Bell networks along the Atlantic façade.