Pair of linchpins

Iron Age, 3rd century BC
From a burial at Kirkburn, East Yorkshire, England

These decorated objects held the wheels of a cart or chariot on their axles. The main parts are made of iron, while both ends have been decorated with a bronze cap, cast onto the iron bar. The elaborate decoration shows the great skill and care of the bronze workers. Each end is decorated with a three-armed motif, known as a triskele.

Two-wheeled carts or chariots were placed in the graves of a very few of the most important people who lived in East Yorkshire at this time. These lynch pins came from a cart that was found in Grave K5 at Kirkburn. The cart had been taken to pieces to place it in the grave, before its owner was laid on top. The owner was a man, aged between 25 and 35, the same age as the man buried with the elaborate Kirkburn Sword only ten metres away in the same cemetery. They were probably relatives, as they share the same slight deformity of the skull.

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More information


I.M. Stead, Iron Age cemeteries in East -1, English Heritage Archaeological Report No. 22 (English Heritage in association with The British Museum Press, 1991)

S. James and V. Rigby, Britain and the Celtic Iron Ag (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)


Length: 18.800 cm

Museum number

P&EE 1987 4-4


Gift of J.S. Rymer


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