The Mystery of the Four Golden Hats of the Bronze Age

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The relics and artifacts uncovered throughout the centuries have provided an immense knowledge base about how our ancient ancestors lived, what they believed in, and what skills they had. Occasionally, an astonishing find challenges our understanding of ancient societies and cultures and provides surprising new information about civilizations of the past. One such find, was the discovery of four cone-shaped golden hats from the Bronze Age.

Discovered in different locations and at different times, the four gold hats share many similarities in size, shape, design, and construction.  Their conical design mimics the well-known image of a witch’s or wizard’s hat, leading to speculation that the hats were worn by individuals who held such a position. The hats are engraved with symbols that may have been used to make agricultural and/or astronomical predictions, possibly raising the wearer to divine status.

The Four Gold Hats. From Left to Right: Vienne, France (1844); Southern Germany or Switzerland (1996); Schifferstadt, Germany (1835); Ezelsdorf, Germany (1953).

The four gold hats are rare archaeological finds dating back to the Bronze Age, which lasted from 3300 – 700 BC. The hats all appear to have been created sometime around the middle of this period, ranging from 1400 – 800 BC. They were each discovered separately, over the course of 160 years, in different locations, three of them in Germany and one in France.  There is, of course, the possibility that more gold hats will be uncovered in the future.

The golden relics are constructed of sheets of gold, with intricate astronomical designs and demonstrate superb craftsmanship. While the four hats bear striking similarities, they are also somewhat unique in their specific features.

The first hat was discovered in 1835 at Schifferstadt, Germany. It is called the Golden Hat of Schifferstadt. The Golden Hat of Schifferstadt was uncovered by a farmer, and appeared to have been intentionally buried. It is the shortest of the four hats, standing at 29.6 cm high. It is divided into bands that run the full length of the hat, with each band decorated with one of several designs including circles, disc shapes, and eye-like shapes. The Golden Hat of Schifferstadt is believed to have been manufactured sometime between 1400–1300 BC.

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