General Character Of Tiie Finds Of Objects Of The Early Iron

The general character of the iinds of objects of the Early Iron Age is almost as varied as the circumstances which have led to their recovery from oblivion, and they may be classified according to their nature, as follows:—

(1) Scpulrhral remains.

(a) Remains found on inhabited or fortified sites.

(3) Hoards of objects purposely concealed.

(4) Objects accidentally lost.

Sepulchral Remains.—The sepulchral deposits of the Early Iron Age differ greatly, both as regards the methods of burial adopted in each case, and the kind of grave-goods placed with the deceased. This is to be accounted for by a difference of lime rather than area ; and it is only natural to find the Bronze and Iron Ages merging into one another, whilst towards the close of the Late-Celtic Roman and even Saxon influence began to be felt.

Possibly the earliest sepulchral of the Late-Celtic period that have been found in England are the burials under mounds at Arras, on the Yorkshire Wolds, which were explored by the Rev. E. W. Stillingfleet, D.i).,1 in 1815-17, and the Rev. Canon W. Green-well3 in 1876. The bodies were not cremated, as was generally the case in the Bronze Age, and also subsequently during the Romano-British period ; but were

1 Memoirs of the Meeting of the British Archwvlogicai Institute held-at York in 1846, p. 26.

2 Greemvell's British Barrvws, p. 454.

buried in excavations in the chalk, and the place of sepulture marked by a tumulus. The so-called Queen's Barrow at Arras, when opened by the Rev. W. Stillingfleet, was found to contain the skeleton of a female, with the feet gathered up, and the head to the north. The grave-goods consisted of one hundred glass beads, two bracelets, rings of gold and amber, and a pair of tweezers.

In another barrow at Arras, the Rev. W. Stillingflcet discovered the remains of a warrior resting on the smooth pavement of a circular excavation in the chalk, 8 to 9 yards in diameter, and i foot 6 inches deep, lying on his back, with his arms crossed over the breast. He had been interred with his chariot, a pair of horses completely harnessed, and two wild boars.

A third barrow explored by the Rev. W. Stilling-lleet also covered the skeleton of a warrior with the remains of his martiai equipment, consisting of the bosses of his shield, one wheel of his chariot, two of his horses' bridle-bits. Two wild boars' tusks (one of which was perforated with a square hole, and enclosed in a case of thin brass) were associated with this burial; indicating, perhaps, some religious or superst:tious belief connected with this animal.1

A portion of the antiquities mentioned are now in York Museum, and the Rev. \V. Stillingfleet's manu-

1 A Late-Celtic boar's head nf bronze was found at Liecheston, in Banffshire, in 1816 (see Dr. J. Anderson's Scotland iv Pagan Times: Iron Age, p. 117). Three little bronze figures of boars, from Hounslow, now in the British Museum, are illustrated in the Pnr. Soc. Ant. iMrtd. (2nd ser., vol. iii.. p. 90); and the splendid bronze shield from the Thames at Battersea, in the same collection, has a boar represented upon it (see Kembie's Hires Ferales, pi. 14). The boar also occurs on one of the Scotch symbol-bearing slabs at Knock-na-Gael, near Inverness (see Stuart's Sculptured Stines of Scotland, vol. i., pi. 38). For a boar or a heimet, see account of Benty Grange tumulus on p. 67.

script notes on his diggings in 1815-17 are preserved in the Library of the York Philosophical Institute.

The barrow at Arras, opened by the Rev. Canon W. Greenwell, covered a circular grave, 12 feet in diameter, sunk in the chalk to a depth of 3 feet, on the floor of which was laid the skeleton of a woman, resting on the left side, with her left hand up to the face, and the head to the west. Two tame pigs were buried with the deceased, and the grave-goods comprised an iron mirror, a bronze harness-ring, a pair of iron chariot-wheels, two snaflle-bits, and what may have been a whip-shank.

In 1875 Canon Greenwell explored a tumulus near Beverley, in Yorkshire, which yielded two chariot-wheels and a bridle-bit, but no human or other bones.

In July, 1897, J. R. ¡\Iortime--, of Driffield, opened 16 out of a group of 178 harrows, called "Danes' Graves," near Pockthorpe Hall, two miles west of Kilham, E. R. Yorkshire.1 The burial-mounds were from 10 to 33 feet in diameter, and from 1 foot 3 inches to 3 feet 6 inches high, covering graves, either oval or oblong with rounded corners, about 7 feet long by 5 feet wide by 2 feet deep. All the bodies were unburnt and buried in the doubled-up attitude characteristic of the Neolithic period. A beautiful bronze pin, inlaid with shell, was associated with the skeleton of a female in a grave beneath the largest of the mounds, and in another were found two male skeletons buried with a chariot, the iron tyres of the wheels and the iron hoops of the naves of which still remained together with the two iron snaffle bridle-bits of the horses. The antiquities derived from the " Danes' Graves " are now i 1 the

1 Reliquaiy for 1S97, p. 224 ; ft»'. Sue. Ant. Lund., 2nd ser., vol. xvii., p. 119.

Museum of the York Philosophical Society. The average breadth index of the skulls was "735.

The burials just described bear a marked resemblance to those of Gaulish warriors at Berru1 and at Gorge-Meillet,2 both in the Department of the Marne in France, and may have belonged to the Celtic tribe of the Parisi, who gave their name to Paris in Gaul, and who colonised or conquered parts of Yorkshire.

Canon Greenwell describes the resuli of opening four barrows of the Early Iron Age in the parish of Cowlam,3 in Yorkshire, in all of which were found the skeletons of females, laid on the natural surface of the ground, resting on the left side, with the hands up to the face, and the head to the north-east. The grave-goods front the first barrow consisted of a bronze armlet, a bronze fibula with an iron pin, and seventy exquisite blue glass beads; and from the second, of an ornamental armlet. From the remaining two barrows only fragments of pottery were obtained.

Mr. J. R. Mortimer explored a grave dug in the chalk, but without any mound above it, in 18G8, a quarter of a mile north-east of Grimthorpe4 House, near Pockling-ton, in Yorkshire. It measured 4 feet 6 inches long, by 2 feet <5 inches wide, by 4 feet deep, and contained the skeleton of a young man, placed on the floor of the grave, resting partly on the back, with the knees and head inclined to the left side, the lower extremities drawn up, the hands on the breast, and the head to the

1 A. Bertrand, Archfobgie Celtique et Gauloisc, 2nd ed., i88q, p. 356.

2 E. Fourdrignier, Double Sepulture Ganloise de la Gerge-Meillet.

3 Biitish Barrous, p. 208, Nos. li. to liv. The results of the exploration are now in the British Museum. The bronze objects are engraved in Sir J. Evans' Ancient Brunze Implements, pp. 3B7, 388, and 40a

* Reliqua,y, vol. ix., p. 180, and L". Jewitt's Grave-Mounds and their Contents, pp. 237 and 263.

south. Associated with the burial were sixteen bone implements, a sword-sheath, the umbo of a shield, a disc of bronze with repousse ornament, and bits of rude pottery.

The number of burials of the Early Iron Age that have been found in Great Britain is extremely small as compared with those of the Ages of Stone and Bronze. This would seem to indicate that the period between the introduction of ron nto this country and the commencement of the Roman occupation cannot have been very long; and that if the new metal was brought In by a foreign invasion rather than by peaceful commercial intercourse, nothing like the extermination of the native inhabitants, who used bronze, and cremated their dead, can have taken place.

As we have seen, a large proportion of the sepulchral remains of the Early Iron Age have been derived from Yorkshire; but other instances have come to light in Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Kent, Gloucestershire, Devon, and Cornwall.

The Rev. Mr. Pegge has given an account in the Archccologia1 of the opening of a tumulus on Garratt's Piece, Mi Idleton Common, Derbyshire, a mi'.e and a half south-east of Arbelows, and ten miles south-east of Buxton. The body had been laid on the surface of the ground, lying east and west. With it were found one of the circular enamelled discs to which reference will be made subsequently; a shallow basin of thin brass, much broken and crushed; and part of the 'ron umbo of a shield.

At Bentv Grange, in Derbyshire, eight miles southeast of Buxton, on the road to Ashbourne, and one mile

1 Vol. ix., p. i8q: letter read May 8th, 1788; and T. Battman's

Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire, p. 24.

north-west of Arbelows, Mr. Thomas Bateman1 excavated a barrow, about 2 feet high, surrounded by a fosse. The body had all decayed, except the hair ; but in the spot where it had been deposited was a remarkable assemblage of relics, consisting of a leathern cup mounted with silver round the edge, and having wheel-or cross-shaped silver ornaments round the bowl; three circular enamelled discs of the same class as those from the Middleton Common tumulus previously described ; an iron helmet surmounted by the figure of a hog of iron with bronze eyes, having a small silver cross inlaid on the nasal; a buckle; fragments of chains, etc. This burial, presenting some Celtic characteristics, belongs to a late period, possibly even after the Roman occupation.

Two Early Iron Age burials are recorded as having been discovered in Staffordshire, one at Alstonfield, the other at Barlaston. The barrowT near Alstonfield, called Steep Lowe,2 was composed of loose stones, and was 50 feet in diameter, and 15 feet high. The Iron Age interment was a secondary one, the tumulus having been made originally in the Bronze or Stone Age. The body was laid on its hack; and amongst the grave-goods were a spear head, a lance-head, and a knife (all of iron), some fragments of a highly ornamented drinking-cup, a stud of amber, and Roman coins of Constantine and Tetricus.

The burial at Barlaston,8 unlike the one just described, was not in a mound, but in a grave, 7 feet long by 2 feet wide, by 1 foot 3 inches deep, cut in the solid red sandstone rock. With the body were associated a

2 Bateman's Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire, p. 76.

s Li. Jewitt's Grave-Mounds and their Contents, p. 258; and Archteo/ogia, vol. lvi., p. 44.

Driffield Symbol


Celtic Art

beautifully ornamented flat bronze ring of Late-Celtic character; three circular, enamelled discs of the type found in the harrow on Middleton Moor; some fragments of a bronze bowl, which Mr. LI. Jew it» erroneously conjectured to have formed portions of a helmet; and blades of an iron sword and knife.

No discovery of sepulchral remains belonging to the Late-Celtic period surpasses in interest that made in 1879, between Birdlip1 and Crickley, on the Cotteswold Hills, seven miles south-east of Gloucester, both on account of the completeness of the series of objects buried with the deceased, and the extreme beauty of some of them as works of art.

Whilst repairing the road, Joseph Barnfxeld unearthed three skeletons interred with the feet to the south, in graves protected by thin slabs of stone placed on edge. The central skeleton was that of a female, and those on each side males. The following grave-goods were associated with the female : a bronze bowl (laid on the face of the deceased; ; a silver fibula plated with gold; a necklace consisting of thirteen amber beads, two jet beads, and one marble bead ; a tubuiar brass armlet; a brass key-handle ; a bronze knife-handle ornamented with a beast's head, having small knobs at the ends of the horns ; and last, but not least, a superb bronze mirror.

Another very similar find of skeletons in graves formed of stones placed on edge was made ila 1833 at Trelan Bahow,2 ir, the parish of St. Keverne, in Cornwall, ten miles south-east of Ilelston. With one of

1 See John Bellows, in Trans, of Bristol and Gloucestershire Archtenl. Snc., vol. v., p. 137. The objects found are. now in the Gloucester Museum.

a See J. Jope Rodgrrs in Archmol. Journ., vol. xxx., p. 2by.

the skeletons was a beautiful bronze mirror, now in the British Museum.

Sepulchral deposits of the same period, which ha\e also yielded mirrors, were brought to light in the course of military works at Mount Batten,1 near Plymouth, in the spring of 1S65. The burials, however, in this case were not ^¡1 stone-lined graves near the surface, but in pits from 4 feet to 4 feet 0 inches deep, excavated in' the disintegrated rock. In addition to a bronze mirror and the handles of two others, the following objects were obtained : two jointed bronze, armlets, two plain bronze armlets, four fibula;, three bronze rings, a bronze cup, an :ron dagger, and a pair of shears, black pottery, ar.d fragments of glass. Ancient British coins had been found previously at Mount Batten,d indicating a settlement here, perhaps in the first century B.C.

The exploration of the I,ate-Celtic urn-field at Aylesford,3 in Kent, three miles north-west of Maidstone, by I)r. Arthur Evans, has been the means of extending our knowledge of the art of tnis period in a most unexpected manner, and has supplied the missing links between the culture of Britain in the first three or four centuries B.C., and that of La Tone on the Continent, which in its turn can be shown to have been strongly influenced by the civilisation of the ancient Venetian country at the head of the Adriatic.1 The shape of the tal!, cordoned, pedestalled vases, and other peculiarities of the pottery from Aylesford, were

1 See J. Spence Bate in Archceologia, vol. xl,, p. 500.

2 Sir J. Evans' Ancient British Coins, pp. 72 and 106.

4 Dr. Arthur J. Evans' third Rhind Lecture on the C Origins of Celtic Art," as repotted in the Scotsman, December 14th, 1895.

things entirely unknown to archaeologists previously, and enable a distinction now to be drawn between the fictile ware of the Late-Celtic period and that of the Romano-British period. The discovery also of bronze objects of Italo-Greek manufacture of the second century B.C., associated with Late-Celtic burials, clearly indicates that there must have been a much more intimate trade-intercourse between Britain and the southern parts of Europe, in pre- Roman times, than has hitherto been suspected.

The Late-Celtic urn field at Aylesford was uncovered in 1886, at Messrs. Silas Wagon and Son's gravel-pit, in the course of removing the surface earth which here overlies the old river-deposits to a depth of 3 feet or so. One of the first burial-pits which attracted attention was circular, and about 3 feet 6 inches deep, the sides and bottom being coated with a kind of chalky compound. in the pit were found a bronze situla, or pail, splendidly ornamented with repousse work n the Late-Celtic style, and containing calcined bones ; an ccnochoe, or wine-'ug ; and patella, or shallow pan, of imported Italo-Greek fabric; fragments of a second situla ; a bronze fibula ; and fragments of pottery.

From another grave, about 1 foot 6 inches deep, situated 200 yards north-west of Aylesford Church, was obtained a bronze-plated tankard with two handles, of the same class as the Trawsfvnydd tankard, surrounded by a circle of five or six earthenware vases, one of these being the finest pedestalled urn collected from the site. All the antiquities from Aylesford are now in the British Museum.

Remains of the Early Iron Age found on Inhabited or Eortified Sites.—Next in importance to the sepulchral remains, as affording indications of the culture of the

Early Iron Age, come the remains derived from inhabited or from fortified sites. And it may be remarked in passing that it is impossible to separate the inhabited from the fortified sites, because in these early times the state of the country was so unsettled that no isolated place of residence, village or town, could afford to do without some means of defence, either natural or artificial.

The :nhabited site which bids fair to rival all others in the varied nature of the relics obtained from it, and the light they help to throw on the arts and industries of the Early Iron Age in Great Britain, is the Glastonbury Marsh Village. As the explorations begun by Mr. Arthur Bulleid, f.s.a., In 1892 are still in progress, it would be premature to pass an op:nion upon the finds until they are completely exhausted. For an account of what has been already discovered there, the reader is referred to Mr. Bulleid's paper on the subject, which appeared recently in the Proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological Society.1 A bronze bowl is there illustrated which seems to be of the same kind as those derived from the graves, but it is ornamented with raised bosses instead of with circular plaques of enamel. The handle of a mirror, like those from the graves, was also found at the Glastonbury Marsh Village in 1896.

From the exploration of this settlement we have obtained a knowledge of the peaceful pursuits and methods of life of the Late-Celtic inhabitants, which could never have been derived from their sepulchral remains. We now know that they were expert potters, wood carvers, coopers, and weavers,2 applying the

2 Ornamental weaving was, no doubt, practised. Although we have 110 absolute proof of this, the La Tene helmet from Gorge-Meillet (MarneJ, previously mentioned, has a sort of swastika pattern upon it, suggestive of a textile origin.

same beautiful flamboyant forms of decoration that are characteristic, of the metal-work of the period to earthenware and wooden vessels. The long-handled weaving-combs, which are so well known in the Pictish towers, or brocks, of the north of Scotland* have been found here also. Amongst the iron implements was a billhook for lopping the branches of trees—a most useful appliance for clearing away undergrowth in forests, procuring firewood, and building wattled structures. Unbaked ovoid clay pellets have been dug up in hundreds. These were probably sling -stones, indicating- that the inhabitants must have been expert fowlers.

The dwellings appear to have been circular or oval wattled huts, the rudeness of which stands out in marked contrast to the high artistic taste and technical skill of the inhabitants.

A few of the crannogs of Scotland1 and Ireland," whose structure is somewhat analogous to the Glastonbury Marsh Village, have also yielded Late-Celtic objects, but not in such quantities as to give evidence of permanent occupation over a considerable period.

Ilunsbury,3 two miles south-west of Northampton, which has been called the English "La Tene," is a good example of a Late-Celtic oppidum. The camp is of oval shape in plan, measuring 560 feet by 445 feet, and defended by a single earthen rampart and ditch.

1 At Lorhlee and at Lnchspouts, Ayrshire; Dowalton, Wigtownshire; and Ilyndford, Lanarkshire (see I)r. R. Munro's Lake-Dwellings of Scotland).

2 Lisnacroghera and Craigy warren, Co. Antrim; Strokestown and Ardakillen, Co. Roscommon ; Lagore, Co. Meath ; and Rallinderry, Co. Westmeath (see Wood Martin's 1 .ake-Dinellings of Ireland).

* See Sir Henry Dryden in Associated Architectural Societies' Reports, vol. xviii. (1885), p. 53.

The area enclosed is about four acres. Between 1880 and 1886 the whole of the interior was excavated to obtain "ronstone, which lay i:i a bed 12 feet thick, at a depth of 7 feet 6 inches below the natural surface of the ground.

In the course of the excavations about three hundred refuse-pits, averaging 5 feet in diameter, and dug in the soil overlying the ironstone, were discovered. Amongst the contents of the pits were two bron/.e sword-sheaths, one of them highly ornamented in the Late-Celtic style;1 three fibula?, bridle-bits and cheek-pieces of bone, a chariot-wheel, iron saws, knives, spear heads, etc.; one hundred and fifty quernstones, reckoning the upper and lower stones separately; eight spindle-whorls, long-handled weaving-combs, and pottery with Late-Celtic decoration. All these antiquities are now in the Northampton Museum.

The camp on Mount Caburn, two miles south of Lewes, in Sussex, explored by General Pitt-Rivers2 in 1878, seems to have been an oppidum of the same class as that at Ilu.nsbury, and the relics indicated the same kind of culture. The pits found at Mount Caburn were some of them oval, and others oblong, 5 to 7 feet in diameter, and 5 feet deep. The objects obtained from the pits included ornamental pottery, long-handled wearing-combs, an iron billhook like the one from the Glastonbury Marsh Village, and three ancient British tin coins.

The fine collection of Late-Celtic horse-trappings, etc., now in the Duke of Northumberland's private Museum at Alnwick Castle, was found in 1844, in a pit about 5 feet deep, within an earthen entrenchment

1 Engraved in the Arclueologia, vol. lii., p. 76?

at Stanwick, ;n Yorkshire, seven miles north of Richmond.1

A few Late-Celtic objects have been derived from Roman towns3and stations3 in England; and also from the weemsor underground houses, and the brocks," or Pictish towers of Scotland.

The bone-caves which were the permanent habitations of Piilaiolithic and Neolithic man in Britain served as temporary places of refuge for the Brit-Welsh population during the troublous limes immediately succeeding the Roman evacuation of this country. Gildas' account of the Britons leaving their houses and lands, and taking shelter in the mountains, forests and caves, whence they were able successfully to repel the inroads of the Picts and Scots,6 is fully borne out by archaeological research.7

The principal caves which have yielded relics of this period are Kirkhcad8 Cave in Lancashire; the Victoria,"

1 Memoirs of the Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland at York in 1846, p. 88; Dr. J. C. Bruce's Catalogue of the Antiquities at Alnwick, p. 38.

2 As in Silehestcr. These have not been illustrated, but are to be seen in the Reading Museum.

3 As in jEsiea (Great Chesters) (A rchceohgia ¿Eliana, 2nd ser., vol. xvii., p. xxviii.).

4 As at Castle Newe, Aberdeenshire, and Grange of Conar., Forfarshire (see Dr. J. Anderson's Scotlavdin Pagan Times.' Iron Age, pp. 141 and 160).

5 As at Okstrow and at Ilarray in Orkney {Pud., pp. 219, 236).

6 Gildas, xvii.; Bede's Eccl. Ilist., bk. i., chap. xiv.

- Three miles south of Cartmel, on the shore of Morecambe Bay (Cave-IIunting, p. 125).

9! A mile and a half north-east of Settle (Cave-Hunting, p. 81 ; and II. Eokroyd Smith in Trans, of Hist. Soc. of Lancashire and Cheshire, vol. for 1866, p. 199; and Roach Smith's Collectanea Antiqua, vol. i,, p. 67).

Kelko^and Dowkerbottom2 Caves in Yorkshire; Poole's3 Hole and the Deepdale1 Cave in Derbyshire ; Thor's3 Cave in Staffordshire; and Kent's0' Cavern in Devonshire.

The character of the antiquities derived from the caves does not differ materially from that of the remains from the crannogs and the ofjnda, although a few things of peculiar form have been found in some of the caves, such as the spoon-shaped bone-pins from the Victoria and Dowkerbottom Caves, and the bone whistles from Thor's Cave. The libula: from the Victoria and the Deepdale Caves are of remarkable beauty. Evidence of spinning is afforded by the longhandled comb from Thor's Cave, and the numerous spindle-whorls from others. The discovery of Roman coins and Samian ware indicate the period at which the Brit Welsh sought refuge in these recesses of the rock.

Hoards of Late-Celtic Objects purposely concealed.— The horse trappings found in an excavation at the bottom of one of several oblong pits, 7 feet long by 3 feet wide by 4 feet deep, at Hagbourne Hill7 in Berkshire, two miles south of Didcot, seem to have been purposely hidden ; as also the horse-trappings which were discovered '.n the chink of the rock by quarrymen at Hamdon Hill8 in Somersetshire, five

1 Overlooking Giggleswitk, one mile north-west of Settle.

2 Between Kilnsey and ArncliiFe, ten miles north-east of Settle (Proc. Genl and Poly tech. Soc. of IV. Riding of Yorish. for 1859, p. 45).

3 A mile south-west of Buxton (Cave-Uanting, p. 126).

4 Three miles south-east of Buxton [Derbyshire Archceol. Soc. Trans., vol. xiii., p. 196).

5 Near Grindon, eight miles north-west of Ashbourne (Reliquary, vol. vi., p. 201, and Trans. Midland Set. Assoc., 1864-5, P- ')•

6 One mile north-west of Torquay. Thtre is a fragment of pottery, with I,ate-Celtic ornament upon it, from Kent's Cavern, in the British Museum.

' Archceologia, vol. xvi., p. 34b. * Ibid., voi. xxi., p. 3y.

miles west of Yeovil. Another instance of intentional concealment is afforded by the beautiful bronze mirror that was found, with other ornamental pieces of bronze, wrapped in a cloth, and covered by the upper stone of a quern, at Balmaclellan,1 two miles north-east of New Galloway, Kirkcudbrightshire.

Late-Celtic Objects accidentally lost.—Besides the Late-Celtic objects which have been dropped by their original owners 011 dry land, and got covered with the soil and thus been preserved, it is remarkable in how many cases they have been lost whilst crossing or navigating rivers, especially the Thames,2 Witiiam,3 Tyne,4 and Tweed."

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