Although the Monastery of Lady Mary is best known for its fine mosaics, another discovery awaited Fitzgerald’s team as they excavated the floor of Room H, a small room adjacent to the chapel. A gold chain and bracelet were recovered along with a cache of ten gold coins, a bronze censer, and other objects. The hoard, perhaps the church treasure, had been buried sometime before the Arab invasion in 636 CE.
The gold chain has been described as a necklace or a belt. Broken at one end, its preserved length is 89 cm, just over 35 inches. It consists of 33 pierced elements (one incomplete) and a central ornament made from a wire ring encircling four filigree hearts or leaves. A small circle of gold wire is soldered inside each heart. The elements are decorated with engraved lines, and a row of dots was likely made with a small punch. A broken loop-in-loop chain, soldered to one end of the necklace or belt, includes 23 links. A close examination of the pierced elements reveals evidence of light tracing, consistent with techniques used in creating this type of Byzantine or Late Antique jewelry. The artisan used a pointed tool to incise a thin line down the center of each element and also outlined the shapes he would cut. Chisel marks on the edges of the perforations indicate how the openings in the metal were made. Aimilia Yeroulanou, who believes the gold chain is a belt, indicates that the decorative motif used for the cut-out elements is vegetal. Palmettes, a common design in jewelry of this time, are depicted here with elongated, stylized leaves.