Celtic (Iron Age) Chariot Fittings For Sale

The use of the chariot in war dates from ancient Sumer, but the European light, two-wheeled form was not developed until the late Bronze Age. Chariot warfare was an innovation which allowed the military to deliver a fast-moving attack, to deploy troops rapidly and to screen the infantry from missile attack. The Continental Celtic tribes of central and southern Europe used the chariot as part of their military display, in order to terrify opponents and to enhance the perceived status of the charioteer. The crew comprised a fully-armed warrior and a lightly-armed driver who controlled the horses and guarded the warrior's back. The warrior, always an aristocrat, could use the chariot as a launch-platform for his missiles (throwing spears) or as a means of arriving quickly where his presence was needed to bolster morale.The battle of Telamon (225 BC) is the last known occasion when chariots were deployed in war in Europe, as part of a force of 20,000 troops consisting of charioteers and horsemen. Diodorus Siculus wrote concerning the Gauls "For their journeys and in battle they use two-horse chariots, the chariot carrying both charioteer and chieftain. When they meet with cavalry in the battle they cast their javelins at the enemy and then descending from the chariot join battle with their swords." Tacitus described a similar arrangement in Britain and Caesar met with chariots in the 1st century BC, by which time they must have appeared to be an archaic technology. Nevertheless, chariot warfare is described in some early Irish sources, notably the Tain Bo Cuailnge (Cattle-Raid of Cooley) in which the hero, Cuchulainn, rides in a chariot hedged with spikes and blades. The text dates from the 8th century AD, but the tradition which it records evokes the imagery of chariot-borne warriors such as those who took part in the Boudiccan revolt of 61 AD.

Chariot-fittings are occasionally recovered and we are pleased to offer some fine examples in these pages.

Back to Celtic Antiquities Main MenuuBack to Celtic Antiquities Main Menu


British Celtic Iron Age 'La Tène Style' Chariot Linch Pin Terminal 026786

British Celtic Iron Age 'La Tène Style' Chariot Linch Pin Terminal
Copper-alloy, 15.0 grams, 25.51 mm. 1st century BC-1st century AD. A cast elliptical terminal, with an elliptical raised plaque and an eccentrically-placed panel with scooped face and two discoid cells filled with white enamel in the classic La Tène Style. Reference: cf. La Tène bronze work in Smith, R.A. British Museum Guide to Early Iron Age Antiquities, Ipswich, 1994 figs.192, 193. Fine condition, with wheel wear to one edge. Provenance: found near Lowestoft, Suffolk, UK.

more info
British Celtic Iron Age 'La Tène Style' Chariot Linch Pin Terminal 026786
Celtic 'Convex Skirt' Terret 022728

Celtic 'Convex Skirt' Terret
Copper-alloy, 40.49 grams, 54.39 mm. Circa 1st century BC-1st century AD. A cast copper-alloy terret comprising a round-section ring and flared convex skirt. The ring is provided with three knops to the outer edge, and is attached to the skirt by a swivel mechanism; the skirt extends downwards from the ring on two faces, ending in knops (two present). The terret was attached to the frame of a chariot, its purpose being to guide the reins of the horse. Reference: Read, B. Metal Artefacts of Antiquity, vol.1, Langport, 2001 items 486, 491 and Smith, R.A. British Museum Guide to Iron Age Antiquities, reprinted Ipswich, 1994 fig.151. Fine condition. Provenance: found Basildon, Essex, UK.

more info
Celtic 'Convex Skirt' Terret 022728
Iron Age 'Three Looped' Terret Ring 010809

Very Large Celtic Iron Age 'Three Looped' Terret Ring
Bronze, 115 grams; 92.36 mm. Circa 1st century BC.- 1st century AD. Large terret ring with complete guide ring and yoke connection loop. The large guide ring is flanked by two smaller loops with an outward slopping skirt that over hangs the yoke connection on both sides. There would have been four terrets on the yoke guiding the reigns for individual horses, occasionally there was a fifth much larger ring on a central pole but there use is not yet known. Due to the size of this example it is most likely to be one of the fifth ring types. Ref: similar to Benets Artefacts of England and the United Kingdom; page 92. Interesting strap wear to one side of the ring. Scarce and in very fine condition. Found East Anglia.

more info
Iron Age 'Three Looped' Terret Ring 010809
Celtic 'Chariot' Burial Group 010089

Celtic 'Chariot' Burial Group
Copper alloy, 1.73 Kg; terrets 5 1/2 - 6 1/4 inch. Mid 1st Century A.D. An extremely large and rare set of Iron age terret fittings from a Romano-Celtic warrior’s 'Biga', with British upturned crescent design. There are two large ornate reign guide fittings from the yoke; one large central terret pole from the front of the chariot; two front bar mounts; and two decorative wheel caps. A rare group of artefacts from a high status chariot burial. The contents of this chariot grave would probably have come from a rectangular barrow which was an integral part of the chariot complex. There would have been a mortuary house associated with the funerary ritual, probably allied to the chariot grave. There would have been other pits and structures, all with burial goods associated with the complex. It is considered likely the mortuary house was linked with the funerary ritual of the chariot complex and probably housed the body during the funebrial [sic; funereal] feast and ritual prior to burial in the chariot barrow’s grave. Ref: Design similar to inferior examples in Benet's Artefacts p 92-93, I150111 & I150112. From the deceased estate of Jennifer Simmonds, a dealer and collector of coins and archaeological artefacts, who traded under the name of "Jennie the Pedlar". Sold at Jacobs & Hunt auctioneers, Petersfield, Hants. Reputed to have been excavated near Viables in Hampshire at the end of the 19th Century. A massive group of artefacts with a superb silky green patination. A beautifully preserved group.
£2,500.00

more info

Celtic 'Chariot' Burial Group 010089


Back to previous page largerBack to previous page