A cache of 3000-year-old horse brasses found in Scotland are giving researchers new insights into the construction of Bronze Age horse harnesses. Archaeologists were able to trace the remaining outlines of the leather straps attached to the metal rings discs and buckles, providing important information on how the harness was used and assembled. The brasses were found in a field near Peebles, 36km south of Edinburgh.
The brasses were found by amateur metal detecting enthusiast Mariusz Stepien, who was searching the field with some friends. Stepien discovered a bronze object buried 1.5 feet under the ground, and reported his discovery to Scotland’s Treasure Trove Unit after getting strong signals from the earth around the object. Archeologists worked on the site for 22 days, and discovered a sword still in its scabbard, decorated straps, buckles, rings, ornaments and chariot wheel axle caps, as well as evidence of a decorative “rattle pendant” that would have been attached to the harness — the first to be found in Scotland.
I was over the moon, actually shaking with happiness. I’m so pleased that the earth revealed to me something that was hidden for more than 3000 years. I still can’t believe it happened!Mariusz Stepien
This is only the second time a haul of this kind has been discovered in Scotland, according to experts from Scotland’s Crown Office. The soil had preserved the trove’s organic materials, such as wood and leather, which allowed archaeologists to trace the straps, which connected buckles and rings to make a harness — something they say has never been seen before in Britain.
All artifacts are now with the National Museums Collection Center in Edinburgh, where they will undergo careful investigation.
I’ve corrected horse brasses for many years and pride myself on finding the “old original” ones, but certainly nothing in my collection is more than 100 years old! These are in amazing condition considering their age.