NARC-E3BCDD: NARC-E3BCDD : Strap Fitting : Iron Age

Rights Holder: Northamptonshire County Council
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Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

A complete copper alloy Strap Mount of Late Iron Age date (50 BC - AD 100).

The object is composed of an openwork circular upper loop with a rectangular plate, which projects from a right-angled joint at the back of the lower end of the upper loop. This expands with the collard aspect, below which is a short rounded rectangular plate. The circular aspect is decorated with two circular plates within the upper inner portion, this extends into an openwork pelta shaped component. The circular frame is decorated with three upper incised ring and dots, flanked by five rectangular incised cells and a single incised chevron. The inner “dot” and rectangular cells retain some yellow enamel. The inner circular plates have an inner circular cell, inlaid with yellow enamel, and an outer circular border around the inner cell, which retains some red enamel.   

At the expansion of the rectangular plate is a thickened, stepped, transverse collar. The lower portion of the rectangular plate is decorated with a pair of incised transverse line, between which is a transverse line of three incised ring and dot motifs. The central “dots” retain yellow enamel, while the outer “rings” retain some red enamel. The back of the object is undecorated and retains a projecting rectangular strap slide at the point at which the plate broadens, marked by the collar at the front of the object.

Length (total): 71.77mm, Length (upper plate): 38.25mm, Length (lower plate): 41.78mm, Width (upper plate): 37.85mm, Width (lower plate): 23.25mm Thickness (upper plate): 4.45mm, Thickness (lower plate): 4.87mm, Depth (attachment loop inc. collar): 15.22mm, Weight: 46.1g. 

The metal is green- brown in colour with a predominantly smooth patina and some areas of pitting and corrosion. The object has been treated (with unclear methods) leading to some alteration in the appearance of the patina.

 The mount is of 'lyre-shaped' form and has four close parallels recorded on the PAS database: 

NMS-3E5C7E (Treasure Case 2020T360; two mounts were identified as part of an Iron Age hoard)

DENO-B67153 has three roundels at the base, but the style of the object conforms to the 'lyre-shape' it has the characteristic three spikes and two loops on the reverse which the above example does not.

DUR-7BDE31 which incorporates spike and loop aspects of DENO-B67153 and openwork in a triskele style within the central circular component.

All PAS records for these mounts also note another example from Dragonby, Lincolnshire (May 1970; May 1996, 278, no.83, fig. 11.26), and the record for NMS-3E5C7E also cites examples from Pegsdon Common Farm, Shillington, Bedfordshire (site thought to be a religious sanctuary; Burleigh 2018, 6) and from the late Iron Age hillfort at Rainsborough, Northants (Fox 1958; Jope 2000, pl. 271, nos. d, e, f), all broadly dated from the Late Iron Age into the early Roman period c. 50 BC-100 AD

NMS-3E5C7E notes:

spiked cheekpieces are known from late Bronze Age onwards in the Mediterranean (Littauer 1969, 289-91, fig 1) and draws heavily on the work of Pauline Norris and her work on similar spiked mounts as part of Ancient Egyptian bridles. Her research has shown that mounts were likely used "as ‘bridle burrs’ or studded cheekpieces, fixed to the outer side of each bridle of a pair of horses harnessed to a vehicle. As the horses moved in parallel and close together, and the reins were run through terrets preventing a wide sideways pull, the blunt spikes on the cheekpieces were used to keep the horses from turning their heads outwards and to help in directional control.". 

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: Regional importance

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: IRON AGE
Subperiod from: Middle
Period from: IRON AGE
Subperiod to: Late
Period to: IRON AGE
Date from: Circa 50 BC
Date to: Circa AD 100

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 71.77 mm
Width: 37.85 mm
Thickness: 4.45 mm
Weight: 46.1 g

Personal details

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Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Decoration style: Geometric
Completeness: Complete
Surface Treatment: Inlaid with enamel

Spatial metadata

Region: East Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Northamptonshire (County)
District: East Northamptonshire (District)
Parish or ward: Titchmarsh (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: TL0180
Four figure Latitude: 52.40869212
Four figure longitude: -0.51664896
1:25K map: TL0180
1:10K map: TL08SW
Grid reference source: Centred on field
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Character undetermined

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: NARC
Created: 6 months ago
Updated: 6 months ago

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