Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Southern British decorated bronzes of the late pre-Roman Iron Age

This thesis is based on a study of more than 500 bronzes, described in a Catalogue, and mostly illustrated, of the late pre-Roman Iron Age from England and Wales south of Lancashire and Yorkshire. The classes of objects studied comprise: presumed and probable vehicle-fittings and horse-harness, weaponry, mirrors, vessels, 'spoons', weighing-devices, and miscellaneous other pieces including sheet mounts and ornamental studs. New classifications are proposed, and the presumed functions of the bronzes are discussed. An outline assessment is made of the techniques of manufacture, excluding data on chemical composition and physical structure.

The most important technical innovations are indicated. The principles underlying the dating of the bronzes are examined, and it is concluded that previous chronologies have been over-precise, and that two phases may be discerned. Distribution-patterns are discussed; two major style-zones, a western and an eastern, are distinguished, and shown to have originated before the birth of Christ. Workshops are shown to have been located in most parts of southern Britain, C. Fox's model of workshop-distribution being rejected. Aspects of smith-organisation are considered, and directions for further research are suggested.