Bronze boars from the Hounslow Hoard


British Museum

British Museum

Copper alloy figure of a boar. Flat ears bent forward, slender legs, back arched with remains of perforated ridge. Possibly the figure to a vessel or helmet.

These are part of the British Museum's collection. One of them is on display at the British Museum in Room 50.

These small boar figurines show the importance that some wild animals had for Iron Age people living in Europe and Britain. They were not designed to be free-standing models, but were made to be fixed on to something else. They may have been decorations on a wooden bucket or box, or even fixed on top of iron helmets. The Hounslow Hoard consists of three boar figurines. There are also two other figurines that might be dogs, and a model wheel. We know very little about how they were found. The story goes that the figurines were found by labourers working in Hounslow in 1864. Many other Bronze Age objects were supposed to have been found at the same time. Animal figurines and model wheels were common in some parts of Iron Age Europe, but they are very rare in Britain. No authentic Iron Age statue or figurine has been found in Britain made earlier than the first century BC. The idea of making small and large statues in bronze or stone was only introduced to Britain by the Romans in AD 43. Are these figurines a genuine British find? We will now never know.

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