Height: 3.000 cm (largest)
Length: 4.600 cm (largest)
Gift of A.W. Franks
P&EE 1864.5-1.9;P&EE 1864.5-2.17
Room 50: Britain and Europe
Bronze boars from the Hounslow Hoard
Iron Age, 1st century BC-1st century AD
From Hounslow, Middlesex, England
These small models of boars show the importance that some wild animals had for Iron Age people living in Europe and Britain. They were not designed to be free-standing models, but were made to be fixed on to something else. They may have been decorations on a wooden bucket or box, or even fixed on top of iron helmets.
The Hounslow Hoard consists of three boar figurines. There are also two other figurines that might be dogs, and a model wheel. We know very little about how they were found. The story goes that the figurines were found by labourers working in Hounslow in 1864. Many other Bronze Age objects were supposed to have been found at the same time.
Animal figurines and model wheels were common in some parts of Iron Age Europe, but they are very rare in Britain. No authentic Iron Age statue or figurine has been found in Britain made earlier than the first century BC. The idea of making small and large statues in bronze or stone was only introduced to Britain by the Romans in AD 43. Are these figurines a genuine British find? We will now never know.
S.O. Glosecki, 'Movable beasts: the manifold implications of early Germanic animal imagery' in Animals in the Middle Ages-2 (New York and London, Routledge, 1996), pp. 3-23
M. Green, Animals in Celtic life and myt (Routledge, 1992)
J. Forster, Bronze boar figurines in Iron (Oxford, British Archaeological Reports, 1977)
S. James and V. Rigby, Britain and the Celtic Iron Ag (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)