Terrets from the Polden Hill hoard


British Museum

British Museum

These terrets were part of a chariot, cart or wagon. Each terret was strapped to a wooden yoke: the pole that was fixed to the front of the cart and passed between the two pairs of horses. The terrets were designed so that the reins of the horses passed through them. Five terrets were needed for each vehicle: four small side terrets, two for the reins of each of the two horses pulling the cart, and one larger central terret at the end of the yoke closest to the driver. All four reins passed through the bigger central terret.

The small terret shown here is a side terret. The two others are central terrets from two different carts or chariots. These terrets are called transverse-winged terrets because of the wings sticking out of the sides and top of the terret.

Made just before or soon after the Romans conquered Somerset, the terrets were cast in clay moulds using a lost wax technique. Carved wooden blanks were used to prepare the identical wax patterns used in the casting process. The terrets were buried with many other beautiful pieces of horse harness some time after AD 70. Other objects found in this hoard include bridle bits and toggles.

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  • Title: Terrets from the Polden Hill hoard
  • Date Created: 50/150
  • Physical Dimensions: Width: 95.40mm; Height: 81.60mm; Diameter: 33.40mm (stops abutting strap-bar); Weight: 283.00g
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: enamelled
  • Registration number: 1846,0322.94
  • Place: Found/Acquired Polden Hill
  • Period/culture: Iron Age
  • Material: copper alloy; glass
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Anstice, Robert