4000 years old and treasured in Cornwall Named after the crescent moons they resemble, lunulae represent some of the most valuable and beautiful items ever found in Cornwall. Gold lunulae came from Ireland some 4,000 years ago. Whereas in Ireland they were ritual items, in Cornwall they were treasured and buried in the mounds of local chiefs or spiritual leaders.
Of the four examples found in Cornwall in the late 18th and 19th centuries, one was kept in a bank vault for years after being given away as a wedding present in the early 1860s and two others were used, temporarily, to hold up the finder's trouser legs.
4000 years old and treasured in Cornwall
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Lunulae are some of the finest peices of gold work from the Bronze Age. To put it into perspective, one wafer thin gold lunulae has a greater weight of gold in it than all the gold artefacts from contempoary british burials combined. Things like that should make us think when we talk about someone being 'rich and powerful' purely on the basis or thier grave goods.
The most telling lunulae discovered were from Kerivoa, Brittany. Here three lunulae were discovered in the remains of a box with some sheet gold and a rod of gold. The rod had its terminals hammered flat in the manner of the lunuae. From this it is thought that Lunulae were made by hammering a rod of gold flat. Decoration was then applied by impressing designs with a stylus. The stylus used often leaves tell-tale impressions on the surface of the gold and it is thought that all 3 lunulae from Kerivoa, and another two from Saint-Potan, Brittany and Harlyn Bay, Cornwall were all made with the same tool. This suggests that all five lunulae were the work of one craftsperson working both sides of the english channel and the contents of the Kerivoa box their tools of trade.
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While Roman Boys wore the previously discussed &ldquoBulla&rdquo as a symbol of their childhood &ndash so too did Roman Girls have their own form of identity of youth. This was an amulet/necklace known as The Lunula. Not as flamboyant or large as The Bulla, these were small crescent shaped pieces of jewelry, given to a Roman Girl not long after birth (among The Wealthier Classes). They were normally made of engraved Silver alloy, and affixed to a necklace. The style of the necklace ranged from simple to very elaborate.
Much like The Male Bulla The Lunula protected a young Roman Girl from perceived sexual immortality. She would have to wear The Lunula until she was married. At that time, she was to remove The Lunula and &ldquocast it away, among her other childhood possessions&rdquo. In this, a Roman Girl was seen as a Roman Woman. Commoners too emulated The Lunula for their young women as well. Made of much simpler materials, Lunula&rsquos of The Commoner Class became heirlooms &ndash often passed from Mother to Daughter.
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What to know about not having a half-moon on the nails
Most people have a small, whitish, half-moon shape at the base of each fingernail where the nail attaches to the cuticle and finger. Some people cannot see a half-moon, or lunula, on the nail while a missing half-moon may suggest a person has a vitamin deficiency or a serious medical condition.
Nails grow from a pocket under the skin that doctors call the matrix. The matrix helps make new cells. These cells then come together and push out of the skin. The lunula, or lunulae in the plural, is the visible portion of the matrix, although it may sometimes be hard to see.
Some people only notice a lunula on their thumbs. Skin color and other factors may make the lunulae more or less visible.
Because the lunula comprises the newest portion of the nail, it can provide clues about a person’s health. The absence of lunulae does not always indicate a serious health problem, but it is a good idea to discuss the issue with a doctor.
The following conditions may cause the lunulae to disappear or be less visible:
Share on Pinterest People with no half-moon on their nails could be suffering from malnourishment or vitiligo.
Malnourishment due to extreme diets, medical conditions that affect the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, and eating disorders can cause changes in the nails.
People with B-12 deficiency may notice that their lunulae disappear. They may also develop brownish-gray nails.
Blood tests can detect many vitamin and mineral deficiencies. A doctor can help a person determine what deficiencies they are most vulnerable to, depending on diet, lifestyle, health, and other factors.
Vitiligo is a chronic skin condition that causes the skin to lose color, usually in patches. This happens when the body attacks melanocytes, the skin cells that give the skin its color.
Some people with vitiligo may develop nail changes, including a loss of lunulae. A 2016 study of 100 people with vitiligo and 100 people without it found that nail changes were common with the disorder. However, 13 of those without vitiligo and 13 with vitiligo had no lunulae, suggesting that absence of lunulae may be equally frequent in both groups.
People with vitiligo may develop other disorders, such as thyroid disease, and they are more vulnerable to sunburns and other sun-related skin conditions. It is, therefore, important to seek medical care.
What Causes Blue Nails? (with pictures)
The basic nail anatomy consists of the nail plate, nail groove, and the lunula, which is the half-moon-shaped area between the nail plate and eponychium. Blue nails disease, also known as azure lunula, is a condition wherein the lunula takes on a blue color. The nails can sometimes turn blue during exposure to extreme cold, which is easily rectified by warming up. If blue nails are persistent, however, they should not be ignored because that is often a sign of an underlying health problem. Respiratory problems, Wilson's disease, and poor blood circulation are common causes of blue looking nails.
Asthma and emphysema are some of the respiratory diseases that contribute to blue nails because they reduce the amount of oxygen that the body receives. Basically, any chronic obstruction in the airways that deprives the body of oxygen can potentially result in bluish nails. This includes pulmonary edema, which is a fluid buildup, and pulmonary embolism, which is a condition wherein an artery in the lungs becomes blocked by excess fat or a tumor. In some cases, hemoglobin, which is an oxygen-carrying protein, can take on an abnormal shape and also cause the nails to turn blue.
Wilson's disease is also referred to as hepatolenticular degeneration and is often a contributor to blue nails. It is a condition wherein excess amounts of copper build up within the body. The disease also causes changes in the liver and in the basal ganglia, which is the gray matter in the lower parts of the cerebral hemisphere.
Poor circulation is another cause of blue nails. This can be caused simply from being too cold and can be helped by warming up and getting a massage to increase the blood flow throughout the body. Heart problems often affect blood circulation as well and can result in long-lasting discoloration of the nails.
A blue nails diagnosis is important if it is persistent. This is especially true if it is accompanied with other symptoms, such as difficulties with breathing, dizziness, or numbness in the arms, hands, or fingers. It is important to check the nails on a regular basis for any signs of health problems. Keeping the nails well groomed and clean can help in spotting any problems at an early stage. Eating a balanced diet and taking supplements can help to prevent many underlying health conditions and help to prevent many nail diseases as well.
Bronze Age Gold Lunula
- Title: Bronze Age Gold Lunula
- Dated: 2200–2000 BC
- Period: Chalcolithic or (most often) early Bronze Age
- Discovered: Blessington, Co. Wicklow, Ireland
- Materials: Gold
- Type: Prehistoric Art and Ancient Artifacts
- Museum: British Museum
Gold lunula found in 1911 in Schulenburg, Lower Saxony, Germany – Lower Saxony State Museum
Classification of Gold Lunula
Archaeologists have classified gold lunulae into the following groups:
- Classical – The widest, heaviest, and also thinnest group.
- Unaccomplished – Similar but narrower and less skillfully executed.
- Provincial – Thicker and more rigid.
The “Classical” type is thin enough to be flexible when worn, and for the incised decoration to appear as relief on their underside.
Some of the “Classical Lunulae” have a variation in thickness across the piece, with the inner edge often three times thicker than the middle and the outer edge twice as thick.
Finds of “Classical Lunulae” are concentrated in the north of Ireland, probably near the sources of gold, with “Unaccomplished Lunulae” find spots are mostly from a “peripheral border” around this area.
A few “Classical Lunulae” have been found on the north Cornish coast and in southern Scotland, probably as a result of trade or migration.
Gold Lunula found near Clogher, Co. Tyrone, Ireland – Ulster Museum Prehistory
The “Provincial Lunulae,” of which only one example, has been found in Ireland are thicker and more rigid, they were probably all made outside Ireland. Their decoration can be more varied and are subdivided divided into two groups:
- Provincial “dot-line,” found in Scotland and Wales
- Provincial “linear,” found in Cornwall, Belgium and north Germany, as well as the Irish example. The northern coast of France has both types.
Lunulae were probably replaced as neck ornaments firstly by gold torcs, found from the Irish Middle Bronze Age. Later, still in the Late Bronze Age, Lunula evolved in gorges of thin ribbed gold, some with round discs at the side.
McNuggets! The history of gold mining in County Wicklow
The news that a significant sized gold nugget, the largest ever found in Britain, has been found in Scotland has sparked renewed interest in the precious metal in Ireland.
However, the nugget, which weighed in at 121.3 grams, pales into insignificance against one found in a County Wicklow stream, in 1796, weighing a very healthy 682 grams. The monster nugget was presented to King George III who, it is rumored had it made into a snuffbox. A cast of the nugget is held by London’s Natural History Museum.
A recent statement by the Geological Survey of Ireland confirmed: “There is more Gold, Platinum, and precious metals in the streams and rivers of the South East of Ireland than previously believed”
Gold lunula housed at the National Museum of Ireland.
Ireland's Golden Age
Gold has a fascinating history in Ireland stretching back thousands of years to the Bronze Age when skilled craftsmen, already highly adept in fashioning practical items from an amalgamation of copper and tin (bronze), found the equally malleable metal especially suitable for manufacturing high-status jewelry and artifacts for the newly emerging aristocracy.
The earliest of these items date from 2,000 BC and from the sheer amount of hoards found across Ireland dating from this period, more than anywhere else in Europe, gives a strong indication that Ireland was a major center of gold production.
Most of these Bronze Age artifacts can be viewed at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.
The lunulae crescent-shaped neck ornaments made from thinly beaten gold decorated with fine geometric designs and the Torcs necklaces or bracelets made from beaten or twisted lengths of gold are stunningly beautiful, exhibiting superb craftsmanship. The whole collection is stupendous and is recognized as being the finest example of prehistoric goldwork in Europe.
Wicklow gold rush
Gold continued to be mined in Ireland developing into an industrial process during the industrial revolution where it reached an apogee culminating in the 1795 Wicklow gold rush.
Sally's Gap, in the Wicklow Mountains.
Hundreds of men, women, and children carrying crudely fashioned gold pans and sieves descended on Ballinvalley now known as the Gold Mines River, near Woodenbridge, in County Wicklow, following the accidental discovery of gold and managed to extract 80 kilos of the precious metal within a few weeks, until the authorities took control, and aided by the Kildare militia forced the rag-tag band of prospectors from their claims.
Between 1795 and 1830 an estimated 7-9,000 ounces of gold was extracted from the Gold Mines River but despite intensive, scouring, trenching and mining the Source or the mother lode was never found.
The discovery of platinum in stream sediments in County Wicklow has been a welcome surprise for Richard Conroy, Chairman of Conroy Gold and Natural Resources, A gold exploration company who stated:
"It won't spark a gold rush but it will encourage local and international companies to look at Ireland with more interest. You could be looking at immediate employment of between 200 and 300, and up to 1,000, within the next decade for one significant discovery.”
What do you think? Could there another gold rush in Ireland?
This article was submitted to the IrishCentral contributors network by a member of the global Irish community. To become an IrishCentral contributor click here.
Fingernail Analysis–Nail Pliability
Brittle or cracked nails: Calcium deficiency, impaired kidney function, iron deficiency, malnutrition, protein deficiency, thyroid problems, Vitamin A deficiency, Vitamin D deficiency.
Soft and Thin nails: Adrenal Gland problems, can be associated with leg cramps, poor nutrition, protein deficiency, Vitamin C deficiency.
Helpful Links and References for Fingernail Analysis :
The lunula is the visible portion of the distal nail matrix that extends beyond the proximal nailfold. It is white, half-moon-shaped, appears by week 14 of gestation, and has unique histologic features. The lunula has a primary structural role in defining the free edge of the distal nail plate. Lunular anomalies include changes in form and structure and in color. Lunular dysmorphologic features can be characterized by macrolunula, microlunula or anolunula, and nonconvex lunula. Lunular dyschromias can be confluent or spotted or can be characterized by longitudinal colored bands that traverse the lunula. Alterations in the morphologic features or color (or both) of the lunula can be an indication of either a cutaneous or a systemic disorder.
The CME articles are made possible through an educational grant from the Dermatological Division, Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation.
Presented in part at the Nail Symposium as “The Lunula: More Than Just a ‘Half-Moon’” during the 53rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, New Orleans, La., Feb. 7, 1995.
Irish treasures that were discovered by chance
Some of them were found by professional archeologists. They spent years looking for clues and planning their expeditions.
But some of these discoveries were unexpected. In this article, I will tell you about five treasures that were discovered in Ireland by chance.
This hoard consists of a gold lunula and two coin-sized gold disks. A Lunula is a type of jewelry that was common during the Early Bronze Age. It is flat and looks like a crescent moon.
This treasure was discovered by a man named Hubert Lannon who was cutting turf at Coggalbeg, Ireland. In March 1945, Hubert spotted a weird object buried in the ground. He kept it to himself for two years.
Then, for some reason, he decided to hand it over to a pharmacist who placed it in a safe. This treasure was forgotten for nearly 50 years until robbers broke into the pharmacy and stole the safe. The Irish police arrested them and found out that the robbers dumbed the treasure in a rubbish skip in Dublin!
The lunula was too thin and it was wrapped in a piece of paper. The criminals thought that it was a worthless document and they dumbed it! This treasure is now displayed at the National Museum of Ireland.
This hoard is also a lucky find. It was discovered by construction workers under a pub in Carrick-on-Suir. The first worker who found the coins thought they’re worthless. So he threw them away!
His coworker picked the coins and cleaned them. He did some research and they turned out to be precious historical coins. They were minted during the 17 th century. They depict three kings Charles II, James II, and William III.
The find was reported to the authorities who promised that they will reward the finder. The 81 coins are displayed at the National Museum of Ireland. Historians don’t know exactly how the coins ended up buried in this location. One of the theories says that they were the savings of a Catholic merchant.
Mooghaun North Hoard
This treasure was discovered in 1845 in Mooghaun, County Clare, Ireland. A group of workers who were building the West Clare Railway wanted to realign a dike. They moved some stones under which they found a large hoard of gold jewelry.
Most of the artifacts were sold to local dealers who melted them down. Only 29 items remained. Some of them are displayed at the National Museum of Ireland. The rest is in the British Museum in London.
Historians estimated that the hoard consisted of 150 relics. And it weighs 11 pounds (5 kg) in total. It is considered the largest hoard from the bronze age era that was discovered in Northern or Western Europe.
This hoard was discovered in Dowris, County Offaly, Ireland. In the 1820s, two farmers were digging trenches to plant potatoes. They found 200 historical objects most of them are made from bronze.
Some of the relics (111) are in Dublin, the rest (79) is in London. The collection includes spearheads, axes, swords, horns and trumpets and crotales, Which are some sort of musical instrument that looks like rattles.
This discovery is very important. It helped historians learn more about the final phase of the bronze age. This era was named after the Dowris hoard.
Paul Raynard and his friend Michael Gywynne discovered a hoard that consists of 84 coins in Ballycastle, Northern Ireland.
These coins are precious and hold great historical importance. They were minted 500 years ago and some of them are very rare.
The value of Henry VIII coin on itself can reach up to $ 5000. The entire hoard can be sold for more than $ 100,000. The money will be split between the finder and the landowner.
Paul is an expert metal detectorist. He is passionate about treasure hunting since his childhood. His first encounter with this hobby was when his parents gave him the Treasure Island book. He took his passion to the next level only in the last few years when he decided to buy a metal detector. If you want to get into this hobby too, you can read this guide.
Before going to hunt metals, Paul and Michael study aerial photos in order to find historical settlements. Coins are usually buried around these areas. This time was different. They didn’t plan their trip, they were only looking for a lost ring. After a few hours scanning the field, they found this hoard.
This article was submitted to the IrishCentral contributors network by a member of the global Irish community. To become an IrishCentral contributor click here.