Thursday, 17 October 2013

British chariot-suspension attachment

Chariot-suspension mount, ca. 1st cent BC - 50 AD. One-piece cast copper alloy
This, belonging to a friend, appears to be a British-chariot suspension attachment. For details about Celtic chariot suspension (with a diagram) see, Raimund Karl's Irish Medieval Chariots: 1300 years in the making.

The base is recessed to accommodate a pole; the back with an indentation, perhaps to fit over a rivet or stud to secure it better to the vehicle; the hole for the suspension-rope. The decorative horse's head has eyes reminiscent of the Stanwick horse mask. I know of no other example of this sort of British chariot furniture, although other chariot-using cultures have comparable mounts, although of completely different designs. Its apparent uniqueness is probably due to the fact that it is a massive piece of bronze and, after the chariot was no longer used in Britain, other examples would likely have been recycled. Each chariot would have had at least a pair of these, although other culture's chariots or wagons sometimes had four of them.

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