• latw-174-1
    Pair of gold rattles from Toptepe. (Courtesy of the Vedat Nedim Tör Museum, Istanbul)

Pair of gold rattles from Toptepe

Late 6th or early 5th c BC, Late Lydian (Persian)
Uşak, Archaeological Museum, 1.95-96.96
Museum Inventory No.
Sardis or Museum Inv. No.
Uşak 1.95-96.96
Object Type
Metalwork Type
Toptepe Tumulus
The two spool-shaped rattles are virtually identical. Each is formed from two disk-shaped end pieces, a side sheet with concave profile and a central cylindrical tube which is turned over at the ends to secure the disks. One has seventeen concentric rings on the die-formed faces, the other fifteen. The crumpled edges of the rattles are the result of an attempt by the grave robber to open them and identify the cause of the rattling sound. The difference in weight between the two rattles is due to the removal of the contents of one of them. Height 3.2 and 3.2 cm, diameter 5.6 and 3 cm, weight 31.2 and 51.9 gr.

Such rattles were perhaps in pairs to a rod and used as a kind of sistrum. Very similar is a gold “rattle” (or possibly reel) from Sardis, Tomb 213 (5.3 cm. in diameter and 3.2 cm high), with nineteen concentric circles of wire on one end, and containing twenty-seven pellets (average diameter 2.2 mm, combined weight 2.4 gr; No. 135). The tomb yielded seventeen other items — two bronze mirrors, a silver omphalos phiale and silver bowl, a chalcedony seal in a gold mount, two gold rings, necklace of gold and carnelian, pottery ‘ampulla’, terracotta open lamp, and seven stone alabastra. von Bothmer cites four other pairs — in Izmir, from Iasos; in Paris, collection de Clercq, from Cyprus, and two from Ialysos, Rhodes. The method of construction is virtually identical to that used for a pair of gold ear reels in the British Museum (GR 1872.6-4.845-6), of the late 5th century BC, which also have concentric rings on the die-formed faces. The earrings from the Tomb of the Carian Princess at Halicarnassos are structurally dissimilar; but have the same concentric rings on their faces” (Özgen and Öztürk 1996).

From the Toptepe Tumulus. Cf. No. 135, from Sardis.
See Also
Özgen, “Lydian Treasure”; Baughan, “Lydian Burial Customs”.
Özgen and Öztürk 1996, no. 120.