Bronze Iibula From River Chuun Now In The British Museum



River Tyne The British Isle Map

fully ornamented with Late-Celtic flamboyant patterns. The knob, which is the survival of the collar already referred to, has here assumed a highly ornamental form resembling two floriated capitals of columns placed together.

The specimen represented on p. 104 is one of a pair of silver-gilt fibula;, similar to the preceding, hut larger and without the chain, although possessing the loops for suspension. They were purchased in Newcastle about the year 1811, and are now in the British Museum. It is stated in Hodgson's History of Northumberland (vol. iii., Appendix x., p. 440) that the locality from whence they came was somewhere in the county northeast of Baekworth. The fiDuke were discovered in a silver patera bearing a dedicatory inscription to the Dea; Matres, and containing, in addition—

5 gold rings.

1 silver ring.

2 gold chains with wheel pendants.

1 gold bracelet.

3 silver spoons.

1 mirror.

280 denarii.

2 large brass coins of Antoninus Pius.

A full account of the find is given in E. Hawkins' "Notice of a remarkable collection of ornaments of the Roman period, connected with the worship of the Dea? Matres, and recently purchased for the British Museum" in the Archceoloffical Journal (vol. riii., p. 35).

We may here call attention to the intensely Celtic character of the fibula; just described. The wearing of brooches in pairs with a chain attachment was a Celtic and not a Roman custom, as hau already been pointed out in a previous volume of The Reliquary (for 1895, p. 157). A pair of bronze fibula;, of the same kind as the one from the Warren, Folkestone, fastened together by a double chain, was found in one of the Gaulish cemeteries in the Department of Maine1 in France, and

Pair Boar Shaped Fibulae
One of a pair of silver-gilt Fibulae found in Northumberland, with Denarius of Antoninus Pius (A.I>. 139) Prawn by C. Praetorius

is now to be seen in the museum of St. Germain, near Paris. It may, therefore, be fairly assumed that all the fibula; found in this country with chains attached to

1 Engraved in the Dirttonratre Archenlogique de la Gaule. Other examples from the cemeteries of Somme Bionne, Courtois, Bussy-le-Chilteau. and Sommesous in the Department of the Marne, are given in the Album accompanying L. Morel's La Champagne souterraim i^pls. 13, 29, 34, and 40).

them or with loops for a chain at the top are more Celtic than Roman.

Amongst the Late-Celtic antiquities in the British Museum are three specimens which Ilústrate the evolution of the harp-shaped fibula very well. One ornamented with a coral boss and gold stud, probably from the Marne district, was presented by the late Sir A. W. Franks ; another came from a chalk pit near Walmer, Kent; and the third was found at Clogher, Co. Tyrone.

Broadly speaking, it may be said that the safety-pin type of fibula made in one piece is earlier in date than the Roman occupation of Britain, and the specimens found in this country are obviously either imported from abroad or copied from foreign originals, such as those found at La Tene, in Switzerland, and in the Champagne district of France. The fibula in use in Britain, after it became a province of the Roman Empire, has a massive harp or bow-shaped back made in a separate piece from the pin and spring. In the earlier, or La Tene type of the fibula, the catch for the end of the pin forms one side of a triangular opening, which, as we have already mentioned, is filled in with a thin plate in the later or Roman Provincial fibula. There is also a sort of transitional kind, with ornamental piercings in the plate.

There was yet another description of fibula belonging to the Romano-British period, having a flat plate for the body in the shape of a circular disc, or sometimes in the shape of a fish or arimal.

The different classes of Late-Celtic fibular are given in the following lists.

List of Localities in Great Britain where Late-Celtic Fibithp have been found.


Hammersmith (Brit. Mus.) Avebury (Brit. Mus.) . Water Eaton (Brit. Mus.; . Blandford (Brit. Mus.) Clogber (Brit. Mus.) .

Middlesex. Wiltshire. Oxfordshire. Dorset. Co. Tyrone.


Locality not given (Liverpool Mus.) . Kent.

Datchet Oxfordshire.


Ringham Low . Hod Hill (Brit. Mus.) Lundon (Guildhall Mus.) . Bonville (Brit. Mus.) . Navan Rath (Mus. R.I.A.) Locality unknown (Mus. R.I.A.) Hunsbury (Northampton Mus.).

Derbyshire. Dorsetshire. Middlesex. Co. Armagh. Co. Armagh. Ireland.



Birdlip (Gloucester Mus.) . . . Gloucestershire. London (Guildhall Mus.) . . . Middlesex.


Polden Hill (Brit. Mus.) . . . Somersetshire. Stamford Hill, Plymouth . . . Devonshire. Cricklade (Brit. Mus.) . . . Wiltshire.


Packworth (Brit. Mus.) Chorley (Brit. Mus.) . Great Chesters (Newcastle Mus.) River Tyne (Newcastle Mus.) . Risingham (Newcastle Mus.) . Ribchester Farley Heath

North umberland.



N01 thumberland.





R-ough (Brit. Mus.) . Victoria Cave, Settle Silchester {Strathfieldsaye House)





Kirkby Thore Westmoreland.

Dowker'oottom Cave, Settle Malton Thirst House Cave, Deepdaie Kilnsea Cirencester

Locality unknown (Brit. Mus.)






Metal pins do not seem to have been much used as dress-fasteners during the Late-Celtic period, judging from the number to be seen in our public museums. One of the most beautiful pins of this period now in existence is the one found with the burial previously mentioned at Danes' Graves,1 near Driffield, Yorkshire, and now in the York Museum. The pin is of bronze, with a peculiar crook near the top and a circular head 1 Froc. S'/c. Ant. Lrmd. ser. 2, vol. xvii., p. 120.

(resembling' a chariot-wheel with four spokes') inlaid with shell, or, according to another account, enamelled. Two bronze pins, with plain turned heads, were amongst the objects derived from the Thirst House Cave,1 Deepdale, Derbyshire.

Several pins of the class known as " hammer-headed " have been discovered from time to time, chiefly in Ireland and Scotland. These pins are of considerable size, some being ten inches long, and have semicircular heads with the convex side facing downwards. The top of the pin is bent at right angles, and the head fixed on in front of it. At the top of the head are usually from three to five projecting studs, and the face of the head is enamelled with Late-Celtic designs. From the associations in which such pins have been found and the style of tlieir decoration, they would seem to belong to the transition period between Paganism and Christianity. There is one in the British Museum from Moresby, Cumberland, which was associated with a small bronze ornament of Late-Celtic character; another in the same collection from Craigywarren,2 Co. Antrim, has spiral patterns upon it; whilst a third in the Edinburgh Museum, from Norrie's Law,3 Forfarshire, was associated with coins of the seventh century, and silver leaf-shape pendants engraved with the same mysterious symbols which occur so frequently on the early Christian sculptured stones of Scotland. A hammer-headed pin of silver from Gaulcross,4 Banffshire, has spiral designs upon the head, but of a kind more nearly resembling

1 The Reliquary for 1897, p. 96.

2 Wood Martin's Take D-teellings of Ireland, p. 110.

9 I)r. J. Anderson's Scotland in Early Christian Times, 2nd ser., P- 3h-

1 Dr. J. Stuart's Sculptured Stones of Scotland, vol. ti., pi. 9.

Plate Stuart Sculptured


Fibula Dublin


that found on the Christian crosses of about the ninth century in Argyllshire than the Late-Celtic flamboyant designs of Pagan times. Other examples of pins of this kind have been found at Lagore,2 Co. Meath, Urquhart,3 Elginshire, on the Culbin Sands, Nairnshire, and in the island of Pabbav, Hebrides.

Unquestionably the finest Late-Celtic personal ornaments are the collars for wearing round the neck, of which, at least, two in gold and about ten in bronze are known to exist. Being larger than any other class of personal ornament, they naturally afford greater scope for the display of the elaborate forms of flamboyant designs in which the art metalworker of the period used to revel. One of the gold collars just referred to came from Broighter, on the western shore of Lough Foyle, near Lirnavady, Co. Londonderry. It was in the British Museum, but has recently been removed to Dublin. The collar, which formed part of one of the most valuable finds of gold ornaments yet made in Great Britain, is unique both as regards its form and the extraordinary artistic skiil displayed in .ts decoration. The hoard was accidentally brought to light in 1896 whilst ploughing a held on the farm occupied by Mr. J. L. Gibson. We give a list of the various objects comprising the find below.

List of Objects in the Limavady Find of Gold Ornaments.

(1) Model of a boat, 7} inches long by 3 inches wide, weighing 3 ozs. 5 dwts., with benches and rowlocks for eighteen oarsmen (nine on each side) and rowlock for steer ■ ing-paddle in the stern.

(2) Boat-fittings in miniature, consisting of fifteen oars,

1 Wood Martin's iMke Dwellings oj Ireland. 1 Prnc. Sot. Ant. Scot., vol. xxxv., p. 279.

one grappling-iron, three forked implements, one yard-arm, and one small spar.

(3) Bowl, 3J inches in diameter by 2 inches deep, weighing 1 oz. 5 dwts. 12 grs., provided with four small rings for suspension.

(4) Two twisted necklets (one broken), the perfect one 5 inches in diameter, weighing 3 ozs. 7 dwts. 9 grs.

(5) Two chains of plaited wire, one 1 foot 2| inches long, weighing 2 ozs. 7 dwts., and the other 1 foot 4! inches long, weighing 6 dwts. 12 grs.

(6; Late-Celtic collar, 7J inches in diameter, made of a tubular ring ij- inch in diameter.

The collar must have had a joint of some kind, which is now missing; and the fastening is a most peculiar one, consisting of a T-shaped projection on the end, one-half of the tubular ring fitting into a slot in the end of the other half of the ring. The locking is effected by giving the slotted end a half turn after the T-shaped projection has been inserted. The whole of the exterior surface of the tube is decorated with long sweeping curves, narrow in the middle and with trumpet-shaped expansions at each end, combined with helixes resembling a snail-sliell. The background is shaded with a sort of engine-turned pattern of fine lines drawn with a pair of compasses. This remarkable gold collar has been fully described and illustrated by Dr. Arthur Evans in the Archteologia (vol. lv., p. 397), and the facts relating to its discovery are related in detail by Mr. R. Cochrane, f.s.a., in a papei ;r the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland (vol. xxxiii., p. 211). An account of the evidence given by Mr. C. II. Read, f.s.a., before the committee appointed to 'nuuire into the respective rights of the British Museum and the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy at Dublin to

Rochdale Museum Exhibits



Gaulish Torques





Iron Age Celtic Collars

the possession of the hoard of gold ornaments will be found in the report of the inquiry in the Blue Book issued in 1899.

A second collar of gold now in the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin, said to have come from Oonmacnois, King's Co., is illustrated ii Sir W. Wilde's Catalogue of Antiquities of Gold in Museum R.I.A., p. 47. It consists of a plain hollow ring 5\ >nches in diameter with an ornamental bulb on each side, one of which seems to be made in imitation of one of the glass beads of the period.

The Bristol Museum possesses a perfect flat-jointed bronze collar, of a different kind from any of those just described, from Wraxhall,1 Somerset, and a portion of another from I.landyssyl,8 Cardiganshire. In the British Museum there are two similar collars, one from Trenoweth," Cornwall, and the other from the Isle of Portland,4 Dorsetshire. The Edinburgh Museum has also an exceedingly good example from Stitchell,5 Roxburghshire. All these collars are elaborately ornamented m the Late-Celtic style. The date of the collar from the Isle of Portland is approximately fixed by ;ts having been associated with a dish of Samian ware.

The existence of other Late-Celtic, collars has been recorded at Mowroad," near Rochdale, Lancashire; Embsay/ near Skipton, Yorkshire; Perdeswell,8 Worcestershire; Loch&r Moss,lJ Dumfriesshire; and

1 Arthceoiogia Cambrensis, ser. 6, vol. i., p. S3. 2 Ibid, s ArchiEuhgia, vol. xvi., p. 127. * Ibid., vol. liv., p. 496.

s I)r. J. Anderson's Scotland in Pagan Times.

6 II. Fishwick's History of the Parish of Rochdale, p. 5.

7 Archrpologia, vol. xxxi., p. 517. 8 Ibid., vol. xxx., p. 554.

9 D. Wilson's Prehistoric Annals of Scotland, vol. ti., p. 141, and

Aichceologia, vol, xxxiii,, p. 347.

Ilyndford Crannog,1 near Lanark. These live belong to a special class of what are not inaptly called "beaded torques," because rather more than one-half the collar is composed of bronze beads of two different shapes, (one convex and the other concave) strung

Celtic Torque Sale

Urnnze Beaded Torque from Lo< har Moss, Dumfriesshire Now ¡1 th- British Museum alternately on an iron rod of square cross-section, so as to prevent the beads from revolving. The remaining and smaller segment of the circle consists of a bronze tube of rectangular cross-section, ornamented on the exterior with a Late-Celric flamboyant design.

Kit Heath Pmc Jewelry


Armlet Spiral


The Perdeswell collar is incomplete, and the part which remains is formed of twenty beads resembling vertebra; strung on to an iron wire or bar, as in the case of the Lochar Mobs collar.

The last class of personal ornaments of the Late-Celtic period to be noticed are the armlets. The most remarkable of these are of the Scottish type, as it may fairly be called, only one specimen having been found outside Scotland.1 The armlets of this type are very heavy and massive, and their general form appears to have been suggested by a coiled serpent; as in the one from the Culbin Sands, Nairnshire, the ends of the coil terminate in actual serpents' heads. The armlets are usually found in pairs, and are highly ornamented with damDoyant work, and in some cases enamelled. Although they are of cast-bronze, the style of the decoration is evidently copied from the repousse designs of the wrought metalwork of the period. Dr. J. Anderson has devoted a considerable portion of his Rhind Lectures on Scotland in Pagan Times: Iron Age, to the examination of the Scottish group of armlets, most of which are in the Edinburgh Museum. The following is a list of the known examples :—

List of Localities where Armlets of the Scottish Type have been found.

Culbin Sands, Nairnshire. Auchenbadie, Bar.fFshire. Castle Newe, Aberdeenshire. Belhelvie, Aberdeenshire. Aboyne, Aberdeenshire. Pitalpin, Forfarshire. Grange of Conan, Forfarshire. Pitkelloney, Perthshire.

Bunrannoch, Perthshire. Seafieid Tower, Fifeshire. Stanhope, Peeblesshire. Plunton Castle, Kirkcudbrightshire. Locality unknown. Newry, Co. Down.

Tne armlet from Stanhope was associated with a Romano-British saucepan, which suggests that this type, belongs to the Late-Celtic Iron Age.

Bronze armlets of La Tène, or continental type, have been derived from the burial mounds at Cowiam and Arras, Yorkshire. The bronze armlet from the Stamford HiH Cemetery, near Plymouth, is jointed like the collars, and decorated with flamboyant work. A penannular armlet, with d:agonal hatching, found at Shoebury, Essex, is now in the British Museum.1

A pair of penannular ring armlets of silver terminating in serpents' heads, which may possibly be Late-Celtic, was disposed of at the sale of the Bateman Collection from Lornberdale House, Derhysh're. They were found at Castlethorpe,2 Buckinghamshire, in 1827, in a small urn containing Roman silver and brass coins, none later than the reign of Verus (a.d. 161-169). A similar pair of base silver armlets were found near the Carlswark Cavern,3 in Middleton Dale, Derbyshire.

Three very elegant armlets of twisted and looped bronze wire were associated with a Late-Celtic burial outside Thirst House Cave,4 Deepdale, Derbyshire. Armlets of the same make are illustrated ;n Liden-schmit's AUcrthiimcr (vol. ii™ pt. 5, pi. 3).

The Late-Celtic toilet accessories are of three kinds, namely, hand-mirrors, hair-combs, and châtelaines. The nvrrors are of bronze and circular :n shape, with an ornamental handle. The back, or unpolished face of the mirror, is in nearly ail cases decorated with incised circles of different sizes, combined with curved

2 The Reliquary, vol. xiii., pi. 1S ; and Jour. Brit. Arcliœol. Assoc.,

J The Reliquary, vol. 1867, p. 113. ' Ibid., 1897, P- IO'-

Celtic Mirror


Bronze Background

linos and a peculiar sort of background filled in with cross hatching.

List of Localities where iMte-Celtic Mirrors have been fund.

Warden (Bedford Mus.) . . . Bedfordshire

Stamford Hill, near Pljmouth (Plymouth Mus.) Devonshire.

Birdlip (Gloucester Mus.) . . Gloucestershire.

Treian Bahow (British Mus.) . . Cornwall.

Balmaclellan (Edinburgh Mus.) . Kirkcudbrightshire.

Desborough Northaats (1908).

Unornamented mirrors have been found with burials at Arras,1 Yorkshire, and Gilton,2 Kent.

The ha:r-combs are of bone, and will therefore be described subsequently when dealing with bonework.

The chatelaines of the. Late-Celtic period are; pretty little objects of bronze, generally enamelled. At the top is a loop for suspension ; there is a little rod below, from which are hung tweezers, picks, files, etc. Specimens have been discovered in the Thirst House Cave,* Deepdale, Derbyshire, and at Canterbury,4 and Craven Arms,6 Shropshire.

The domestic utensils and cooking appliances of the Late-Celtic period include wooder tankards and buckets with bronze mountings, bronze bowls and saucepans, and iron fire-dogs. Some of the riveted caldrons possibly also belong to this period, but as they cannot be distinguished from those of the Bronze Age it will be unnecessary to describe them here.

1 W. Greenwoll's British Harrows, p. 454.

2 1?. Faussett's Inventurium Sepulchrale, p. 30.

3 The Reliquary for 1897, p. 95.

4 Proc. Soc. Ant. I.ond., ser. 2, vol. vi., p. 37b.

There is a very perfect wooden tankard mounted with bronze in the Mayer Museum, Liverpool, from Trawsfynydd,1 Merionethshire, having a handle ornamented in the Late-Celtic style with flamboyant tracery, which might easily be mistaken for Gothic work of the fourteenth century were it not for the trumpet-shaped expansions. Handles of similar tankards have been found at Aylesford,2 Kent; Elveden,3 Essex; Okstrow,4 Orkney ; and Carlirgwark Loch,5 Kirkcudbrightshire.

Late-Celtic wooden buckets with bronze mountings are of the greatest rarity, so much so that only three are known to exist, one from Aylesford,15 Kent, in the British Museum, anu another from Marlborough,7 in the Devizes Museum, and a third from Mount Sorrel, Leicestershire. They are decorated with repousse designs representing men, animals, etc., treated much in the same way as on the Ancient British and Gaulish coins of the same period.

Bronze bowis have been frequentiy found on Late-Celtic inhabited sites and with Late-Celtic burials. A quite plain but extremely well-made bronze bowl is to be seen in the British Museum side by side with the beaded torque from Lochar Moss,8 Dumtriesshire, which accompanied it. There is another plain bowl in the Gloucester Museum which was associated with the burial at Birdlip,9 Gloucestershire, already described. A bronze bowl ornamented with projecting bosses is

1 Archcenfogic. Cambrensis, ser. 5, vol. xiii., p. 212.

4 J. Anderson's Scotland in Pagan Times Iron Age, p. 242.

6 The Reliquary for 1897, p. 35.

7 Sir R. Colt Hoare's Ancient Wilts.

8 B. Wilson's Prehistoric Annals of Scotland, vol. i., p. 465, pi. 9.

* Trans, of Bristol and Gloucestershire Archcetd. Soi., vol. v. , p. 137.

amongst the objects derived from the Glastonbury1 Marsh Village; and a bowl in the Dublin Museum from Keshkerrigan,2 Co. Leitrim, has a very characteristic Late-Celtic handle in the form of a beast made up of flamboyant curves. A special type of bronze bowls with zooinorphic handles and enamelled decorations will be dealt with subsequently.

Most of the saucepans in use during the Late-Celtic period were either imported from Italy and Gaul or were so nearly copied by local metalworkers as to be indistinguishable from the originals. None of these saucepans, as far as I am aware, have Celtic decoration upon them, although several are inscribed with Celtic names, and others are highly enamelled. Two specimens in the British Museum are of exceptional interest, one of bronze enamelled and inscribed with the name " bodvogexvs," from Prickwiilow,3 near Ely, Cambridgeshire, and the other of silver, with a highly ornamented inscribed handle, which was found at Backworth,1 Northumberland, with the pair of Kelto-Roraan fibula; previously mentioned. The more elaborate saucepans were probably used in connection with religious ceremonies and not for cooking, as is borne out by the dedicatory inscriptions upon the handles and the circumstances under which many of them have been found. A list has already been given of the saucepans associated with finds of Late-Celtic objects.

The metalworkers of the Late-Celtic period were not only capable cf executing some of the finest pieces of repousse bronze that the world has ever seen, but they

1 Proc. of Somersetshire Archizol. Sot., vol. x!., p. 149.

2 Reliquary for 1900, p. 247.

s Arckieotogia, vol. xxviii., p. 436.

also excelled in producing works of art in wrought-iron of great merit. As an example of their skill in this direction we have the remarkable pair of fire-dogs from Capel Garmon, Denbighshire,1 now in the possession of Colonel Wynne Finch of Pentre Voelas, near Bettws-y-coed. The fire-dogs consist of two upright bars, each surmounted by the head of a beast with horns, and standing on an arched foot, connected near the bottom by a horizontal bar on which to rest the logs of wood used for the fire. The uprights are ornamented on each side with thinner pieces of 'ron bent into undulations and scrolls, and fixed to the uprights at intervals with rivets having large round heads.

Each of the beasts' heads has a very curious sort of crest ornamented with a row of circular holes and round knobs. Other (ire-dogs, made of plain iron bars, and with horned beasts' heads on the top of the uprights, have been found at Mount Bures,2 Essex, Ilay Hill,3 near Cambridge, and Stamfordbury,4 Bedfordshire, associated with Rnmano-British burials.

Objects of the Late-Celtic, period which may con-iecturally have been used for religious purposes are the little bronze figures of boars from Hounslow, Middlesex, ar.d the bronze statuette of a female, with a glass bead in one of the eye-sockets, from Aust-on-Severn, Gloucestershire, presumably a goddess.5

Under the head of musical instruments come the bone flutes from Thor's Cave, Staffordshire, and the magnificent bronze trumpet in the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy at Dublin. Most of the trumpets

2 C. Roach Smith's Collectanea Antiqua, vol. ii., p. 25.

1 Pubiicaiions of Cambridge Ant. Soc. for 1845.

• Both illustrated in Brit. Mus. Guide to Iron Age, figs. 123-4.

of this kind are of the Bronze Age, but the style of the decoration on the annular disc at the mouth of this one from Loughnashade shows clearly that it is of the Iron Age.1

Amongst the objects of uncertain use of this period

Celtic Flat Iron Bars

Late Celtic Bronze Spoon from Late Celtic Bronze Spoon from

Brickhill L?ne, London Crosby Ravensworth, Westmoreland

Late Celtic Bronze Spoon from Late Celtic Bronze Spoon from

Brickhill L?ne, London Crosby Ravensworth, Westmoreland are certain spoons,4 some peculiar disc-and-hook ornaments, and a few highly ornamented circular pieces of repoussé bronze.

2 There is a strong probability that these spoons were for sacramental Christian use ; see Dr Rock's article ¡0 Arch. Cairb. of 1871, pp. 1- 26; also article by Rev. E. L. Banwell in Arch. Camb. of 1862, pp. 205-209.

The spoon-like objects have been very fully dealt with in a paper by Mr. Albert Way in the Archteologirat Journal (vol. xxvi., p. 52).

List of Localities where Spoon-like Objects with iAite-Celtic

Decoration have been found. Crosby Ravensworth (British Mus.) . Westmoreland London, Krickhill Lane (British Mus.) . Middlesex.

Spoons Pitt Rivers Museum
Late Celtic Spoon. One of .1 pair from Weston, nca- Bath, Now ir, the Edinburgh Museum. Scale f linear

London, Thames (British Mus.) Weston, near Bath (Edinburgh Mus.) Llanfair (Edinburgh Mus.) I'enbryn (Ashmolean Mus.) . Locality unknown (Liverpool Mus.) Locality unknown (Dublin Mus.) . Walmer








The body of these objects is shaped like a very shallow spoon with a pointed end, and the handle (if such it may be called) is circular or nearly circular, in many cases with two little round ears or projections at each side. The so-called spoons are generally found in pairs, one spoon having a cruciform design in the middle of the bowl; whilst its fellow has a small hole bored through the edge of the bowl. The handles of the spoons are always ornamented, sometimes on the front only, but more commonly on the back as well.

There are specimens of the other Late-Celtic objects of unknown use—namely, the hook-and-disc ornaments1 and the circular pieces of repousse metalwork with a cup-shaped depression—in the British Museum" and the Dublin Museum.3

No satisfactory explanation lias been given of the use of certain wheel and triskele pendants of which examples have been found in Berkshire, Kingsholm, near Gloucester, Ilunsbury, N. Hants, Seamill Fort, Ayrshire, and Treceiri, Carnarvonshire.

rOTTKRY AND GLASS The pottery of the Late-Celtic period differs from that of the Bronze Age in being turned on a wheel instead of being hand-made. The liring is also better

done, and the quality of the ware superior in every way. Since the discovery of the Aylesford cemetery in Kent, in 1886, it has been possible to differentiate Late-Celtic pottery from Romano-British by the peculiar forms of the vases. Dr. Arthur Evans has dealt with this subject pretty exhaustively in his paper in the Archteologia (vol. lii., p. 315).

The most characteristic of the Aylesford urns is tall, with a narrow base and wide mouth. The base is in the shape of a low truncated cone, the top of which is the narrowest part of the vase, and from this point it gradually gets wider until the top rim is nearly reached, when t contracts again slightly. The curve thus produced is of such extreme, elegance as to at once suggest a classical origin. The exterior surface of some of these pots is plain, but in many cases it is divided into bands by horizontal projecting bead mouldings. Dr. A. Evans does not find much difficulty in showing that the peculiarities of form can be directly traced to the metal situhc from which the vases were copied. With regard to this, he says :—

" In most cases these {i.e. the Aylesford) vases, which for elegance of form may almost vie with the ceramic products of Italy or Greece, are divided into zones by the small raised ridges or cordons described above, the zones themselves being, in turn, decorated with finely incised linear stri&tions. This type of vase, beautiful as it is in itself, is still mere interesting from the comparisons to which it inevitably leads us. No one familiar with the ceramic forms of an important group of North-Italian cemeteries, belonging, for the most part, to the fourth or fifth centuries before oar era, and of which the whole series of objects so admirably excavated and arranged by Professor Prosdocimi at Este1 forms the most splendid illustration, can fail to be struck with the 1 Xotiicie deglt Scavi, etc., ib'82, pp. 5-37.

Samian Pottery


manifold points of resemblance presented by the urns before us with the most characteristic of the vase-types there-represented. The contour of the type referred to, with its shoulders sometimes angular, sometimes abruptly rounded otf, its inverted conical body divided into vertical zones by raised cordons, and tapering off to a pedestal below, can only be described as identical with that of some of the finest of the Aylesford specimens. The only perceptible difference is that, whereas the British urns are almost uniformly covered with a black or brown coatir.g—the colouring

Celtic Urns
Late Celtic urns from Shoebury, Essex Now in the Colchester Museum

matter may have been supplied by pounded charcoal—zones of the Euganean cineraries are coloured alternately with bands of graphite and red ochre. Some of the earlier of the Este vases are, however, of pla'r dark brown bucchcrn, and others, again, of later date, of an uniform red or grey. These North-Italian parallels have a still further value, inasmuch as they throw the clearest possible light on the actual genesis of this type. The cordoned vases of Este are, in fact, nothing more than copies in clay of certain forms of bronze situke; ihe commonest form of these, which is distributed through the whole of the geographical area where these vases are discovered, is zoned in the same way as the pots, the zones answering to an universal method of early metal industry, in accordance with which vessels were built up ot bands of thin metal riveted together at the edges, each zone being often, in turn, defined by cordons or beads of metal. These cordons themselves in their mure prominent form represent the woouen rings that surrounded and kept together the framework of wooden staves, to which in early times the metal plates themselves were riveted."

Besides the pedestalled vases from Aylesford,1 made ia imitation of the cordoned situlce of bronze from the North-Italian region, there are others, perhaps derived from them, with elegantly formed bases. There are also vases w-thout pedestals and having somewhat globular bodies, as well as bowl-shaped and saucer-shaped pots. Most of these are now in the British Museum.

List of Localities where Finds of Late-Celtic Pottery cf the Aylesford Type have been made.

Kit's Coty House (Maidstone Mus.).


Allington (Maidstone Mus.)

. Kent.

North fleet . ...

. Kent.

Elveden .


Shoebury . ...


Braintree . . .





. Kent.

Hitchiu .


Aston Clinton (Aylesbury Mus.)


Abingdon (Ashmolean Mus.1 .

. Berks.

Whiteohurch (Dorchester Mus.)

. Dorset.

Weymouth (British Mus.)


Seaford (Eastbourne Mus.)


Another class of pottery is recognised to belong to the Late-Celtic period, not so much by the forms of

Another class of pottery is recognised to belong to the Late-Celtic period, not so much by the forms of

1 A fine example of this type trom Sandy, Beds, is illustrated in f. Fisher's Bedfordshire.

Celtic Pottery Prehistoric





the vases (because most of them are in a very fragmentary condition) as by the patterns upon them, which consist of incised curved lines, circles, dots, and different kinds of cross-hatching and shading. A list of the finds is given below.

List of Localities where Finds of Late-Celfic Pottery, ornamented with Incised Lines, Circles, Dots, and Shading, have been made.

Hunsbury (Northampton Mus.) . Northamptonshire.

Mount Caburn (Pitt-Rivers Coll.) . Sussex.

(British Mus.)

Elm Grove, Brighton ('Brighton Mus.) Sussex.

Hightield Pits, near Salisbury (Black-more Mus., Salisbury) . . . Wiltshire.

Kent's Cavern, Torquay (British Mus.) Devonshire.

Glastonbury Marsh Village (Glastonbury Mus.) Somersetshire.

Kingsholrn (Ashir.olean Mus.) . . Gloucestershire.

Those who wish to compare the Late-Celtic pottery of Britain with Gaulish pottery of the same character may, with advantage, consult the Dictionnaire Archéologique de la Gaule, and Paul du Chatellier's La Poterie aux époques préhistoriques et gauloise en Armoriqtte.

Glass does not seem to have been used for any other purpose by the Late-Celtic people except the manufacture of personal ornaments, the most important, of which were beads for necklaces.1 Some of the beads from Ireland and Scotland, specimens of which may be seen n the museums at Dublin and Edinburgh, are most artistically fashioned from twisted rods of glass of variegated colour bent into peculiar shapes. They have been obtained from the Irish crannogs at Lagore and Lough Ravel.

1 For illustrations and account of glass beads of Iron Age see Brit. Mus. Guide tu Antiquities of Early Itvn Age, p. 107, fig. 87

A bracelet of green glass, with a cable-like ornament in white and blue strands surrounding its outer surface, was found a few years ago in the crannog at Hyrdford, Co. Lanark.

woodwork, bonework, and the kimmeridge shale industry

Owing to the perishable nature of the material very few examples of carved woodwork of the Late-Celtic period are now in existence. Those which we do possess have been derived from the Glastonbury Marsh Village and from the crannog at Lochlee, Ayrshire. Mr. Arthur Bulleid, f.s.a., has illustrated three specimens in an article on "Some Decorated Woodwork from the Glastonbury Lake Village" in the Antiquary for April, 1895, p. 109. No. 1 was dug up from the peat at a depth of C feet f> inches below the surface, near the south-east edge of the village. It is a rectangular piece of wood dressed smooth all over, 1 foot 7 inches long by 34 inches wide by inch thick, decorated on one side w ith a step-pattern shaded the fashion of chequerwork, with a cross-hatching of diagonal lines. No. 2 is the stave of a small bucket, which, when complete, must have been 7 inches high by si inches in diameter, decorated with a lozenge pattern shaded with parallel straight lines. No. 3 is a portion of a tub 6 inches high by 1 foot in diameter, cut out of a solid piece of ash, and having its exterior surface decorated with flowing lines of extreme beauty, resemoling scrolls of foliage converted into geometrical ornament by successive copying. Where the flowing lines diverge, the trumpet-shaped expansions are shaded with diagonal cross-hatching and dots. There is a good model of this tub in the British Museum. The designs on the woodwork from Glastonbury are produced by incising the surface with some fine sharp-pointed tool, and afterwards burnt in by passing a heated piece of metal along the incisions.

The specimen from the Lochlee crannog, which is illustrated in I)r. R. Munro's Ancient Scottish Lake Dwellings (p. 134), is a piece of ash 5 inches square, ornamented on one side with a triple spiral, and on the other with Late-Celtic flamboyant work.

A wooden bowl with a carved handle, found ~'n a bog near Rathconrath, Co. Westmeath, and now in the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin, may possibly belong to the same category.

Amongst the objects of bone belonging to the Late-Celtic period the most remarkable are the spatula;, or flakes, of which no less than 5,000 are said to have been derived from cairn II of the Slieve-na-Caillighe series, near Oldcastle, Co. Meath. These chambered cairns were in the first instance erected as burial-places at the end of the Neolithic Age or the beginning of the Bronze Age, and the one marked II on the plan given in the Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot. (vol. xxvi., p. 294) appears to have been used as a workshop by an artificer .n bone during the Early Iron Age. Ninety-one of the bone spatuke from the cairn in question were engraved by compass, with circles, curves, and ornamental punctur-ings, and twelve were decorated 011 both sides. Unfortunately the whole of the bones have been lost, and we only know what they were like from the illustrations in E. Conwell's Tomb of Ollamh Fodhla (p. 53). A fragment of one of these bones which had been overlooked > by the previous explorers of the cairn has recently been brought to light by Mr. E. Crofton Rotheram.' Perhaps the most interesting feature connected with the bones from Slieve-na-Caillighe is the discovery with them of i Jo urn. A'. Soc. Ant. Ireland, set'. 5, vol. vi., p. 257.

the pair of !ron compasses used in producing the incised designs upon them.

Besides the bones just described, the other principal objects of the same material belonging to the Late-Celtic period are certain toilet-combs and spoon-shaped fibulas, or dress-fasteners. Bone combs with Late-Celtic ornament have been found on the inhabited site at Ghegan Rock, near Seacliff, Haddingtonshire, and in the cran-nogs at Lagore,1 Co. Meatb, Ballinderry,2 Co. West-meatli; and at Longbank crannog on the Clyde, near Glasgow. Spoon-shaped fibula; of bone have been derived from the Victoria Cave, Settle, the Kelko Cave, Giggleswick, and Dowkerbottom Cave, Arncliffe, Yorkshire. The ornament upon them consists of concentric circles and dots.3

In addition to wood and bone, the Late-Celtic people used Kimmeridge shale for the manufacture of objects, chiefly turned vases with cordons, like the Aylesford pots previously described. Vessels of this kind have been found at Old Warden,4 Bedfordshire, Great Chester-ford5 and Colchester,0 Essex, and Corfe Castie,7 Dorset.


Only three sculptured monuments decorated with Late-Celtic patterns are known to exist at present.8 They are all in Ireland and are fully described by Mr. G. Coffey in the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy (vol. xxiv., sect, c, p. 257).

1 Sir W. Wilde's Catal. Mus. R.I.A., p. 271, fig. 176.

5 I'rof. W. Boyd Dawkins' Cave Hunting, pp. qi and 131.

4 "On the Materials of Two Scpulchrai Vessels found at Warden, Co. Reds, by the Rev. J. S. Ilenslow (Cambridge Ant. Soc. Puhl., 1S46).

6 Ilenslow, toe. cit., p. 87. 7 Archienl. Jour., vol. xxv., p. 301.

8 At Mullaghmast, Co. Kildare; Castle Strange, Co. Roscommon; and Turoe, Co. Galway.

Celtic Sculpture



Reproduced from a photograph by Mr. A. McGoogan illustranug Mr. George Coffey's paper in the "Proceedings of the Royal Irish Aeademy"

Pottery Pagan
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  • donald
    8 years ago
  • Anna
    What was the celts bronze mirror used for?
    8 years ago
  • sarah
    How were the bronze celtic spoons used?
    6 years ago

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