Spirals, especially in gold, were commonly associated with the Sun in ancient European cultures. A loose spiral represented the long days of summer and a tight spiral, the shorter days of winter. Such rings would have been placed amongst burial goods. From the early Bronze Age in Europe, burials became more individual, with the deceased laid to rest in individual, rather than communal, barrows. As a result, grave goods became more varied and personalised, including the jewellery worn by the deceased during his or her life. The spiral is a dynamic symbol, indicating endless movement and in use from the Neolithic period onwards. The motif was common across cultures and time periods, especially in central Europe and Aegean. Bronze craftsmen continued to use the pattern during the Bronze Age, though more flamboyant and flatter spiral patterns were favoured.
To discover more about spirals in Celtic culture, please visit our relevant blog post: The Symbolism of the Spiral in Celtic Imagery.