Ocean Pendants (Portugal, Spain, Ireland, and America, c. 2200 BC)

Jay Stuart Wakefield

In quite a few of the megalithic "anta" or "burial dolmen" of Iberia, small inscribed tablets (pendants) of slate have been found. At least one or two of them are now to be seen in most of the archaeological museums in the cities and towns of Portugal and Spain. Photos of them will be seen in tourist brochures and in archaeological publications. They are each unique, but they have common characteristics. Considered anthropomorphic artistic objects, or idols, we show they also have geographic meaning. They represent a crossing of the ocean to the backside of the world, on the other side of the ocean. The pendant accompanied the wearer in burial, to show he/she had made a risky journey to Paradise, and deserved a special place in the Realm of the Dead. Related examples show that they were admired and copied in Denmark, Ireland, Greece, and America during the Bronze Age.