Iron age and Roman-era vehicle terrets from western and central Britain: an interpretive study
thesisposted on 05.08.2015, 14:40 by Anna Sian Grodecka Lewis
This thesis presents an interpretive study into the development, distribution, use and deposition of Iron Age and Roman-era terrets, or rein-guides, from western and central Britain. It is the first in-depth study of terrets as an artefact class and, unlike previous catalogues of Iron Age or “Celtic” metalwork, includes terrets of Continental or Roman stylistic origin as well as the “D-shaped” British series. The accompanying database records 596 terrets from within the study area. The “D-shaped” series first emerged around the third century BC, and appears to have taken a stylistic leap in the early first century AD, when terret design became increasingly varied and frequently involved the inclusion of colourful enamels. From the mid-first century AD, Continental-influenced forms became widespread in Britain. The D-shaped series continued to evolve, whilst adhering to basic conventions and constraints, until chariotry fell into decline around the end of the first century AD. The thesis re-assesses dating evidence for the development of the artefact class, and proposes a new typology organised into three main typo-chronological groups. The inter-relation of D-shaped and Continental varieties is investigated, the distribution across the study area of different forms compared, and depositional contexts reviewed. The social significances of D-shaped terrets in particular are also considered, as communicated both through their artistic development and through the behaviours evident in their deposition. Moving from the Late Iron Age into the Early Roman era, the thesis makes use of object theory and post-colonial theory to interpret the changing social roles of terrets in the context of Roman invasion and occupation.