Sussex Karnyx

Specimen Representations | SR040

Find Spot: Not known

Current Location: Not known, sold at auction in London

Description: Notes from Auction catalogue below contain some errors but are quoted for reference: Lot 1340 Dix Noonan Webb Date of Auction: 1st & 2nd December 2021

Sold for £3,400

Estimate: £2,000 - £3,000

Celtic, 1st cent. AD, a small bronze Carnyx or sounding Bell, 6.2cm long by 3.5cm wide, hollow slightly curved shaft, boar’s head at the summit with a wide open mouth projecting forwards, circular eyes with a series of central curving crests or spines along its back, ears large and projecting; a small opening at the back may have been for the attachment of a wooden tongue. Very fine with an olive green patina £2,000-£3,000 Footnote Provenance: Found at Bardwell (Suffolk) in a grassy paddock 8-10 inches deep; PAS SF-5A50AE, listed as a find of note with no exact parallel.

Although much smaller than the only other recorded carnyx [NB. This is incorrect] from Britain (the Deskford carnyx found in 1816), the snarling open-mouthed boar with its bristling spine is a compelling argument that it is in fact a miniature sounding bell. Carnyxes were used in battle and ceremonies as lip-reed instruments. The bell would have been mounted on a vertical hollow pole with a mouthpiece at the bottom. Three carnyx players are illustrated on the famous Gundestrup cauldron