Toggles from the Polden Hill hoard


British Museum

British Museum

These toggles are made from bronze and were originally decorated with red glass. They were found with many other decorated bronze horse harness fittings buried together at Polden Hill. This is probably a ritual offering of Iron Age objects, but was made at least thirty years after the Romans had conquered this part of England. This is known because bronze brooches found in the hoard were types only made after the Roman Conquest. All the toggles were cast in clay moulds using the lost wax technique. Carved wooden blanks were used to prepare the identical wax patterns that were used in the casting process. A leather strap went through the middle of each toggle, but we do not know exactly what the toggles were used for. Were they just for decorating the straps of a horse harness - a horse's jewellery? Or did they help hold the leather straps of the horse's harness together? The importance of horsemanship is demonstrated by the surviving metal harness, which is larger and more decorative than most personal ornaments.

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  • Title: Toggles from the Polden Hill hoard
  • Date Created: 50/150
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 103.20mm; Width: 17.10mm; Thickness: 15.50mm; Length: 27.00mm (rectangular perforation); Weight: 103.00g
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: cast; enamelled
  • Registration number: 1846,0322.138
  • 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
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