- Museum number
Copper alloy chain, nine sections including hook-plate. Hook-plate is a double ring, the one circular and the other a rather pointed oval. The hook is in the form of an animal head, with projecting ears and a collar (on the outside only); the hook itself (the animal's snout) is broken. The links are formed from strips of metal, not cast, with an overlapping or butt-joint in the middle of one side. The complete links are bronze, 29 to 32 mm long; two of them still have iron collars over the joint. Three broken iron links were made in the same way but provided with bronze collars. There are fourteen flattish bronze rings, 21.5 to 23.5 mm diameter, most quite wide and some ridged round the circumference. Also a large double-loop link in bronze, L 52 mm, round in section and worn completely through at the ends.
Diameter: 21.50 - 23.50 millimetres (flat rings)
Length: 29 - 32 millimetres (complete links)
Length: 52 millimetres (double-loop link)
Length: 53 millimetres (hook plate)
- Curator's comments
- Stead and Rigby 1999
Findspot: Somsois ‘Perriere-la-Guilliere’ (Marne)
For this, his first excavation, Morel published a detailed account and a plan of the cemetery. He read his report to the Société des Sciences et Arts de Vitry-le-François on 3 August 1865 and published it in the first volume of their transactions (Morel, L., 1867, Cimetière galuois de Somsois, ‘Bulletin de la société des sciences et arts de Vitry-le-François’ (1861-7), 169-86); the same paper was read at the annual meeting of the Sociétés Savantes des Départements at the Sorbonne on 4 April 1866, and then published in two different journals (Morel, L., 1866a, Cimetière gaulois de Somsois, RA, 14, 23-34 and Morel, L., 1866b, Cimetière gaulois de Somois, ‘Mémoires lus à la Sorbonne (Archéologie)’, 177-87). The contribution to Morel 1898 (83-93) was thus the fourth publication of this excavation report. Two versions (Morel 1866a and 1867) are identical, although the illustrations are taken from different blocks and vary slightly; there is one figure in the text and two plates (a plan of the cemetery and a selection of grave-goods). The final version (Morel 1898) is almost the same as Morel 1866b, which varies slightly from the 1866a and 1867 versions. Likewise, the plan, Morel 1898, pl. 28, is very similar to Morel 1866b, pl. vii, although it was not taken from the same drawing and has had lists of grave-goods added. The plan in the other two publications is different and much cruder. The orientation of burials and their overall positions relative to one another is identical on both versions, but the distances between burials varies considerably from one plan to the other: e.g. grave 16 and grave 19 seem to be about 5 m apart on the one plan (Morel 1866a and 1867) but only about 1 m apart on the other (Morel 1866b and 1898). Neither plan has a scale, and one version (Morel 1866b and 1898) lacks a north point. Smith, R.A., 1925, ‘A guide to the antiquities of the Early Iron Age’ (second edition), London, 72-3.
The cemetery was found when seven or eight graves were disturbed in the course of road-works. Morel started an excavation in September 1863 at the side of the road and into the adjoining field. The cemetery was on the slope of a hill and covered an area 21 by 12 m. Below 0.4 m of topsoil there was a compact layer of chalk, 0.6 m, before the 0.2-0.3 m of terre noire covering each skeleton. There was no consistent orientation of the graves, which were on average 2 m long, 0.85 m wide and 1.3 m deep, and no suggestion of coffins. All burials were extended inhumations: one (grave 25) had the hands crossed on the pelvis, two (graves 10 and l4) had the legs crossed, and the others were fully extended with the arms by the sides; one skeleton (grave 23) faced downwards. This cemetery was regarded as exceptional in that all the graves were intact (Morel 1898, 184).
Grave-goods found by the road-workers included: four bracelets (one of glass); four anklets; a torc; two belt chains; three brooches; a finger ring; and two amber beads.
Grave 4: Upper half cut by the road. ML.1550 was only object found (not shown on plans).
Context: Belt chains; Double-ring links.
Bronze belt chains are found in women's graves in Champagne, in La Tène Ic and II (Fig. 2, type j); Déchelette, J., 1914, ‘Manuel d’archéologie préhistorique, celtique, et gallo-romaine’ 2, 3 ‘Second âge du fer ou épogue de La Tène’, Paris, 1230-35.
Double-ring links: Usually cast and alternating with flat rings. In Villesneux grave 2 there are iron links of this type, alternating with bronze rings, in a La Tène Ic context; St-Benoît-sur-Seine grave 30 has similar iron links linked together; for more elaborate bronze links of this type see Fère-Champenoise 'Faubourg de Connantre' grave 47 (a La Tène Ic context) and Flavigny (e.g. Challet, V., 1992, ‘Les celtes et l’émail’, Paris, 78-9, and a typology of such links, p. 75).
Bibliography: Morel, L., 1898, ‘La Champagne souterraine’ Reims, pl. 16, fig. 2. The hook from Luyères grave St17 is similar, but without the 'ears'.
- Not on display
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number