These are early silver 'spiral of life' pendants from the coastal Ahl Massa tribal area. Spiral pendants from Massa have a possible history stretching back to the ancient Phoenicians who had colonised and traded from North Africa in ancient times until routed by the Romans and then the Arabs. The Ahl Massa (Berber Māsset), is the name of a small Berber tribe of the Souss, settled some 30 miles south of Agadir at the mouth of the Wādī Māssa; the latter is probably the 'flumen masatat' mentioned by Pliny the Elder.
The age of the silver pendants is indicated by their grooved lines and niello overlay. later spirals are much smoother and more regular in construction, done in concentric circles rather than spirals. The niello also indicates age. That I have found 8 matching ones is quite extraordinary. It was customary to have 8 spirals strung on a necklace. The number 8 is a special number. I have restrung these spirals on exactly the type of beads which would have been used.
See Berber Memories
Length 16 ins/40 cms
Height of spirals 5 cms from bail, or 3 cms diameter.
Coral beads vary from 2cms down
Refs:Rabate, Bijoux de Maroc pp
Here is explained the development of these pendants which indicated that these are some of the earliest ones made with real niello in the grooves as opposed to black filler inside concentric cirlces.
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