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iron age

The Iron Age, or Celtic period started in Britain after the Bronze Age around 800 BC. Although the use of Iron was known to exist in the Middle East as long ago as 4,000 BC, the knowledge and use of it did not spread to the Celts in Britain until around 800 BC.

 

The ancient Hittites came from an area we now know as modern day Turkey, and kept Iron a closely guarded secret. However, because of their connection through wars and with the ancient Greeks, word soon got out and spread from Greece, to Italy, and on to other parts of mainland Europe and the Celtic tribal peoples, before eventually coming to Britain around 800 BC.

 

The Celts were very stylistic in their artistic design, much of which would not look out of place in today's modern world. Indeed much of today's art and design seems still to be influenced by our Celtic ancestors. Iron was used for a wide range of items at this time including tools, agricultural equipment, and of course weapons of war such as knives, daggers, and swords. The Celts at this time were still a fiercely tribal people protecting their land for the farming of crops and the rearing of animals for food which had to a large extent replaced the necessity for hunting wild beasts for food.

 

Although by this time iron was widely being used by the Celts, bronze and gold were still being used to adorn weapons, ornaments and jewellery. The lower casts in the tribe may not have worn jewellery, but higher up the social scale such as tribal leaders, nobles, and later Druid priests would have adorned themselves with quality objects. By this time red and yellow enamels were being added to bronze brooches and iron weapons. Items which were not enamelled often relied on the fantastic stylistic approach which was simplistic but to this day remains very impressive. Small items were often buried as votive offerings to the Celtic pagan gods which still dominated religion in Britain at this time. Of course there were no written records, however the ancient artefacts that remain with us today prove that the Celts were an advanced, creative, and thinking culture.

Catalogue Description

C-107

Celtic Bronze La Tene Brooch circa 1st Century BC. A small brooch formed in one piece of bronze, which was typical of the "La Tene" type, named after the area of north west Switzerland where important Iron Age archaeological finds of this type and style were made. The brooch has a high bow with plain flat top and upturned finial which appears to have a floral motive on it. The small catch plate and pin are still in tact. The brooch measures 40mm and is small and delicate indicating use by a female. A nice piece of Celtic jewellery approximately 2,100 years old.

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C-107

£75.00

Celtic Bronze La Tene Brooch circa 1st Century BC. A small brooch formed in one piece of bronze, which was typical of the "La Tene" type, named after the area of north west Switzerland where important Iron Age archaeological finds of this type and style were made. The brooch has a high bow with plain flat top and upturned finial which appears to have a floral motive on it. The small catch plate and pin are still in tact. The brooch measures 40mm and is small and delicate indicating use by a female. A nice piece of Celtic jewellery approximately 2,100 years old.


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C-108

Celtic Bond Slave Figure circa 100 BC. A superb very rare example of this well known and well documented Celtic captive slave figure. Cast in bronze it would have been worn strung around the neck as an amulet as a sign of victory over a neighbouring tribe. The figure shows a man with both hands and feet bound in chains in a seated position with the face looking to the sky, perhaps in wishful prayer to a pagan Celtic god for mercy. A similar less detailed and more pitted example figure can be seen in Benet's Artefacts of England & the United Kingdom second edition page 80. The figure is nicely mounted for display purposes on a small marble block which is in turn attached to a wooden base. 43mm x 10mm.

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C-108

£390.00

Celtic Bond Slave Figure circa 100 BC. A superb very rare example of this well known and well documented Celtic captive slave figure. Cast in bronze it would have been worn strung around the neck as an amulet as a sign of victory over a neighbouring tribe. The figure shows a man with both hands and feet bound in chains in a seated position with the face looking to the sky, perhaps in wishful prayer to a pagan Celtic god for mercy. A similar less detailed and more pitted example figure can be seen in Benet's Artefacts of England & the United Kingdom second edition page 80. The figure is nicely mounted for display purposes on a small marble block which is in turn attached to a wooden base. 43mm x 10mm.


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