- Museum number
Iron linch-pin of ‘j’ shape and associated ring. The top of the straight shank of the pin ends in a ring. The pin has a swelling on the shank with a hole passing through it laterally. Stored with the linch-pin is a small bag of associated iron fragments. The small circular iron ring with attached shank was found in association with this linch-pin.
- Production date
- 210 BC - 160 BC (circa)
Diameter: 31.50 millimetres (linch-pin terminal)
Diameter: 29 millimetres (ring, max)
Length: 129.60 millimetres (linch-pin)
Length: 32 millimetres (shank attached to ring)
Weight: 4.80 grammes (associated fragments, including packaging)
Weight: 79 grammes (linch-pin)
Weight: 16.70 grammes (ring and shank, pre-conservation)
Thickness: 17.90 millimetres (linch-pin)
- Curator's comments
This object comes from the Wetwang Village Iron Age chariot burial (registered with stem 2001,0401.). This was the burial of a woman probably aged 35-45. She was buried in a square barrow, and a two-wheel horse-drawn vehicle had been placed, dismantled, into the grave. The burial probably dates to the first half of the second century BC and can be compared with other Middle Iron Age vehicle burials from East Yorkshire.
The barrow was located on the north side of the modern village of Wetwang. Unlike previously excavated vehicle or chariot burials, this barrow was located on a hill-top, rather than in a valley. The burial is located approximately 1.5-2 km to the south east of the large Iron Age cemetery and settlement at Wetwang Slack excavated in the in the 1970s. Three chariot burials were also found nearby during gravel quarrying in the 1980s. These other burials lay in the valley running east-west on the north side of the ridge on which this burial was located.
The sequence of events leading to the burial can be reasonably reconstructed. The grave was dug to accommodate the body of the vehicle. The body (2001,0401.20) may have been brought to the grave side on the horse drawn vehicle, and was carefully handed down and laid out on top of some form of mat, cloth or organic matter of rectangular shape at the south end of the grave. The body may have been held in a bag fastened with a strap union (2001,0401.18), or this fitting may have served some other purpose. The woman was buried head towards the south, which is unusual. She was buried with an iron mirror (2001,0401.19) that was placed in the grave inside a fur-lined bag. The bag was closed with a draw string or similar threaded with unusual tiny blue glass beads (2001,0401.22). The draw string had been wrapped around a coral-decorated tightly involuted brooch (2001,0401.21). Cuts of pig meat were also placed over her body (2001,0401.43-56). At some stage in the sequence of events the vehicle was taken apart. The wheels and the box/body were removed from the axle, pole and yoke, which remained fixed together. The terrets remained in place on the yoke and the reigns and other harness wrapped around the yoke. The axle, pole and yoke were placed over the body, followed by the box/body of the vehicle. The wheels were placed over the pole. Although the wooden chariot itself was not preserved, all of the metal harness and chariot fittings were recovered from the grave (2001,0401.1-17). The quantity of coral used as decoration on some of the metal objects is exceptional in a British Iron Age context. The grave was finally infilled with clay, and a low mound or barrow left over the top of the grave. Whether the square ditch around the burial was dug before or after the burial is not clear. The horses that led the vehicle to the grave were taken away. People visited the burial after the funeral, and at times left pig and other animal bones/remains (2001,0401.59-80) and some human bone (2001,0401.57-8) either on the barrow to erode into the ditch, or in the ditch itself. Small amounts of pottery (2001,0401.23-34) were also found in the ditches or upper grave fill.
(Adapted from JD Hill’s preliminary report on the excavations)
Similar ‘j’ shaped linch pins have been found in other burials, such as Garton Station (1985,0305.20-21), and elsewhere in Britain (e.g. Polden Hill: 1846,0322.146). This shape of pin can be contrasted with ‘vase shaped’ linch pins, as found in the Kirkburn burial (1987,0404.12-13) and elsewhere, and continental examples ending in a perpendicular bar. The supplementary ring appears to have been attached to straps that passed through the hole, similar to the copper alloy ‘mini-terrets’ found in similar position abutting the different-shaped linch pins in the Kirkburn burial (1987,0404.14-15) . (Adapted from JD Hill’s preliminary report on the excavations)
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Excavation/small finds number: 332 BK (context/find code)
Miscellaneous number: DT/JP (number possibly associated with ring)