Bronze spoons

Iron Age, 50 BC-AD 100
Found in a bog near Crosby Ravensworth, Westmorland, northern England

Spoons used by Druids to see the future?

Without written evidence it is difficult to discover what these large spoons were used for. But by studying where they were found and the particular patterns on the spoons, archaeologists can come to some conclusions about their use. It is almost certain that they were not used for eating or serving everyday food; they were probably used for special rituals or ceremonies.

The spoons were found by a farmer digging in a bog near a natural spring. They were buried under 30-50 cm of peat and were about 200-250 cm apart. Objects were offered as sacrifices in bogs, lakes and rivers in the Iron Age and the spoons' location suggests that they might have been used in rituals. Spoons like these are usually found in pairs and one spoon always has a small hole on the right side. The other spoon does not have a hole, but is always decorated with a cross which divides the bowl into four quarters. Why? It has been suggested that something, perhaps water, blood or beer, might have been allowed to drip through the hole in one spoon onto the other spoon during attempts see into the future.

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More information

Bibliography

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

M. MacGregor, Early Celtic Art in North Brit (Leicester University Press, 1976)

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

Dimensions

Length: 11.800 cm
Width: 7.000 cm (max.)

Museum number

P&EE 1869 12-11 1,2

BCB52401;BCB6339

Location

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