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Iron Age artefacts in Roman Britain

Many of the Iron Age objects in the British Museum date to the Roman period. Although the Romans annexed most of Britain, they did not conquer large parts of Scotland, north of the border with Roman Britain. These peoples continued to live in same ways as they had in the Iron Age - making metal objects decorated with La Tène art (for example, a pair of massive bronze armlets found at Muthill, Perthshire) and living in round houses. Although they sometimes fought with the Romans, traded with them and used some Romano-British things.

However, south of the border, not every part of the Roman province of Britain adopted every aspect of Roman life. In northern England, many people continued to live in round houses, and to make metal objects decorated with La Tène art. These objects include iron swords with decorated bronze scabbards such as the Embleton and Asby Scar swords.

Even in southern Britain a number of Iron Age type objects have been found that were clearly made after the Roman conquest, at a time when people were adopting Roman ways of life. These objects include terrets, horse bits and other horse harnesses. They show how long it took for some people to fully change their ways of life in the first hundred years of Roman Britain.

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British Museum collections, £12.99

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