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Kemmelberg

Photo Focus: Celtic Linchpin

by J L Putman & M Soenen

 

Restored ceremonial chariot from Strettweg (AT)
Photo © Thilo Parg (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Restored ceremonial chariot from Strettweg (AT)
This ritual chariot found in Strettweg (AT) is a bronze artwork about half a metre long and high, an example of the use of Celtic carriages for ritual ceremonies. The axes have not been worked out on this artwork.

A linchpin was found in a dump just outside the rampart. It blocked the axle of the wheel of a (ceremonial) chariot which belonged to a clan chief or a prince - or was it a princess? Linchpins usually occur in a funerary context.

Reconstruction Celtic chariot wheel with linchpin
Photo © J L Putman

Reconstruction Celtic chariot wheel with linchpin
The linchpin is keeping wheel and axle together.

Restored Kemmelberg linchpin
Photo © H Hameeuw, RAMS

Restored Kemmelberg linchpin
The iron linchpin found is 14.3cm long and ends on a thin crescent-shaped bronze decorative plaque with a height of 4cm and a maximum width of 6cm. The features are pointing in the direction of a ceremonial chariot.

Imitation model of a linchpin
Photo © H Maertens

Imitation model of a linchpin
This imitation model is for didactic use. The brilliance of bronze and iron come well into their own. Perhaps the open segments in the bronze plate had once been filled with a striking colour such as coral red.

Detail bronze decorative plaque
Photo © L Verhetsel, VISO

Detail bronze decorative plaque
Detail of the thin arc-shaped bronze plaque with a repetitive image of three times three crescents made in a ternary head to tail composition. Celtic art from the fifth century BC, drawn with a compass.

Zoomed in detail of decorative plate
Photo © H Hameeuw, RAMS

Zoomed-in detail of decorative plate
Here and there, embossed circles of 1mm in diameter are still visible. This secondary decoration emphasises the excision.

Microradiography
Photo © M Dierick, UGCT UGent

Microradiography
This technology visualises the attachment of the bronze semicircle with bronze rivets on the iron base.

One photo on this page licensed for re-use under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 International licence by Thilo Parg.

 

 

Text copyright © Archeo Kemmelberg. An original feature for the History Files: Kemmelberg.