Bronze spoon

Iron Age, 50 BC-AD 100
Found in the River Thames at London, England

One of a pair of ritual spoons

This spoon was cast as a single piece in a mould. The decoration on the handle was made by drawing out the design on the clay mould using a compass. This was done before the metal was poured in to make the spoon, rather than having been added later. After casting, the bowl was pierced at its left edge with a circular hole about two millimetres in diameter.

It is not known what this object was used for. Spoons like this are very rare archaeological finds and only twenty-five have ever been found. They have never been found on settlements where people lived, though a few were placed in graves. Most spoons of this type were found in bogs, rivers or buried in the ground. They are usually found in pairs, like those found at Crosby Ravensworth, Westmorland.

Although this spoon was found in the River Thames at London, we do not know the exact find-spot nor what the spoon might have been found with. Was the spoon given as a sacrifice? Is the other spoon from this pair still waiting in the river to be discovered?

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More information


A.P. Fitzpatrick, Who were the Druids? (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1997)

K. Parfitt, Iron Age burials from Mill H-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)

A. Way, Notices of certain bronze reli (London, 1869)

R.A. Smith, A guide to the antiquities o-1 (London, British Museum, 1905)

J.W. Brailsford, Later prehistoric antiquitites (London, Trustees of the British Museum, 1953)

A. Shimbun, Treasures of Celtic art: a Eur (Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, 1998)


Length: 11.400 cm

Museum number

P&EE 1856.7-1.1369



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