Chieftain's Burial

Contributed by Letchworth Museum

In 1967 an excavation in Baldock uncovered a burial so rich in grave goods that it is thought to have belonged to a chieftain. The burial dated to the Iron Age, around 100 BC. The grave contained a large bronze cauldron with an iron rim, two bronze dishes, two iron firedogs and two wooden buckets with bronze decoration. Scraps of cremated bone, claws of a bear and the remains of a roast pig were also discovered. The finds suggest this was a tribal leader cremated on a bearskin rug, with items from the funeral feast buried with him. The firedogs could have held the cauldron over a fire as a meal was cooked, to be served to guests in the bronze dishes. The amphora may have held wine to be poured into the buckets and mixed with water as was the custom. This type of burial has been found across the south-east of England, France and Germany. However, the Chieftain's Burial at Baldock is the earliest known example.

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c. 100BC


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