Transport (Finds Function 8)


The objects associated with transport fall into two groups; items associated with horses (bits, hipposandals), and vehicle fittings (linchpins, terrets, etc.) (Table 68). The group includes several pieces of undoubted Iron Age origin, while the hipposandals are exclusively Roman in date. Harness fittings of military or probably military origin are included in FF13.

Objects associated with transport and horses

While several pieces are of undoubted Iron Age origin, some of the simpler forms, such as bit SF1181, could be Iron Age or Roman. The outstanding object is a Late Iron Age yoke fitting of continental origin (Figure 520.14), though there are also several fragments from Iron Age-style horse bits. One of these (SF5792, Figure 520.1) is a snaffle bit link which has been broken at either end. Palk (1984, 93) suggests that in some cases bits were deliberately broken prior to deposition, and, in particular, cites an example from the Hayling Island Temple. It is possible that the Elms Farm bit was also deliberately broken (though it has also suffered modern damage), and it could be from a structured deposit. However, it is from Area N, and therefore not in close proximity to the temple.

The following are iron unless otherwise specified.

Horse bits

Figure 520
Figure 520: Transport, 1-11

In addition to the objects listed below, many of the iron rings from the site could have been from horse bits, or from other items of horse harness.

1. Copper-alloy plate on an iron core. Side link from a snaffle bit, with a recent break where the link swells into the connecting loop with the side ring, and an old break across the other loop. L. 65mm, loop diam. c. 23mm. SF5792, Layer 10978, Group 8007, Area N, not phased (Late Iron Age with Roman contamination)

Palk (1984) classified Iron Age bridle bits according to the materials used in their construction, and this example falls into Category C, all of which are from double-jointed bits, i.e. with two side links and a connecting central link. The central links have their loops in the same plane, whereas the side links (and the links of single-jointed bits) have their loops at right angles, as with this example. Many of the central links from bits of this type exhibit collars similar to the Elms Farm example, but this feature is not normally found on side links. This could possibly be a link from a single-jointed bit, but none of the single-jointed bits illustrated by Palk is comparable. Given the rarity of Iron Age bits, this may simply be a local variant. Palk lists only one other example from historic Essex, a double-jointed snaffle bit from Walthamstow (Palk 1984, 39, DJ38) which has a collar round the centre link, but not round the side links. Few of the Category C bits are dated, but they appear to have been manufactured over quite a long period of time, perhaps between the mid-3rd century BC and 0 BC (Palk 1984, 80).

2. Copper alloy. Fragment from the terminal loop of the link of an Iron Age horse bit. The surface is good, but pitted. It has two deep longitudinal grooves, and is very similar to the loop on a single bar snaffle bit from Middlebie in Scotland (Palk 1984, fig. C43), and has almost exactly the same dimensions; this does not, however, imply that the Heybridge fragment is from a bit of identical form. It is very similar to 9723, SF4939. W. 14mm, Th. 6mm. SF8149, 3999, Spoil-heap.

3. Copper alloy. Fragment from the terminal loop of the link of an Iron Age horse bit. It has two deep longitudinal grooves, and is similar to 3999 SF8149, but in worse condition. W. 17mm, Th. 4mm. SF4939, Layer 9723, Area D, not dated. (The context is dubious, and the object possibly mis-numbered.)

4. Single bar snaffle bit with a curved mouthpiece, and a ring at either end. Single link snaffles, discussed by Manning (1985a, 66), are much rarer than double-link, and are possibly largely Late Iron Age to Early Roman, given the cited parallels. L. of mouthpiece 110mm, rings, external diam. 30mm, internal diam. 23mm. SF1167, Fill 4242, Pit 4241, Group 739, Area K, Period 4

5. Not illustrated. Link from a snaffle bit, form as Manning H14, with a ring at one end, and a collar, now incomplete, at the other. L. 84mm, ring diam. 20mm, collar W. 12mm, Diam. 24mm. SF1181, Fill 4286, Pit 4285, Group 62, Area K, Period 2

6. Not illustrated. Part of a two-link snaffle bit, comprising two interlinked bars with looped ends, the loop incomplete at one end and missing at the other. The bars are roughly polygonal in section, and quite sturdy. L. of the more complete link 70mm, bar W. 12mm. SF2324, Prepared surface 6219, Group 516, Area H, Period 3-4

7. Not illustrated. Strip with a rectangular section, changing to a square section at the point at which it is broken. The other end broadens, and has been formed into a loop, max. W. 14mm. Possibly part of a snaffle bit mouthpiece link; cf. Manning H17. L. 51mm, strip section 6x4mm. SF5994, Machining layer 11000, Area A, unstratified.

8. Not illustrated. Horse bit link, from a single jointed snaffle bit. The plain bar has a loop at either end, in orthogonal planes. One loop is incomplete. In poor condition. L. 77mm, bar section 9x7mm. Fill 14613, Pit 14529, Group 722, Area L, Period 6

9. Not illustrated. Straight rod with a circular section, with one end flattened and rolled into an oval sectioned tube at right angles to the bar. The other end has an ancient break, possible cut since it is so straight (VF). This is probably part of a bridle bit mouth-piece link. L. 49mm, rod diam. 5mm, tube W. 17mm, section 10x14mm. SF5993, Cleaning layer 15637, Area M, not dated

10. Not illustrated. Bar with a variable section, broken at both ends. One end at least had a flattened terminal. Probably a horse-bit link. L 65mm. SF7384, Fill 19150, Pit 19149, Group 658, Area P, Period 3

11. Copper alloy. Bolt with circular section and mushroom head, other end pierced. There are constrictions just below the head and above the hole. Fair condition, surface flaking. Possibly modern, although there are similar bolts from Vindonissa (Unz and Deschler-Erb 1997, Taf. 68, nos 1945-53), described as snaffle or bridoon bit bars (Stangentrensen). L. 144mm, head diam. 17mm, shaft diam. 9mm, hole diam. 4.5mm. SF841, Machining Layer 4000, Area A, unstratified


12. Copper alloy. Miniature terret ( Figure 520). This plain example with its flat section is probably allied to the Late Iron Age enamelled crescent terrets, such as that from Richborough (Henderson 1949, 106 and frontispiece). It differs in that the sides of the loop are broader than the top; this may have been accentuated by wear. However, the surface is in poor condition, and it is now impossible to see any traces of wear. Kilbride-Jones (1980, 100) notes that the distribution of crescent terrets is predominantly East Anglian, and suggests a date of c. AD 43-60 for their manufacture. A similar date can be postulated for this piece, making it residual in its context. Diam. 35mm. SF2281, Cleaning layer 5543, Area J, Period 5-6

13. Copper alloy. Fragment from a 'dropped-loop' terret consisting of a circular ring, mostly missing, and a smaller ?rectangular loop. The ring has an oval cross-section. It is similar to an example from Alcester, from an early to mid-4th century context (Lloyd-Morgan 1994, 182, no. 142). Max. W. 30mm, surviving L. 28mm. SF6497, Machining layer 12000, Area R, unstratified

Yoke fitting

14. Copper alloy. Lenticular plate, curved lengthwise, with two attachment holes, and traces of linear decoration. In the centre is a complex moulded terminal of reel and bead elements finishing with a knob, which has a hole in the top. An iron rod runs through the middle. In fairly poor condition, with the plate cracked. Ht 68mm, plate 49x28mm. SF4684, Machining layer 11000, Area A, unstratified

There is a good parallel for this object from the Iron Age Temple on Hayling Island (King and Soffe 1998 , 41 and fig. 2), where it is noted as being unique in Britain. There are, however, continental parallels, with examples from Mont-Beuvray cited. Piggott (1983, 218, fig. 138) illustrates a reconstruction of a double yoke from La Courte, Belgium which features two similar fittings, placed on top of the arches of the yoke and flanked by terrets. The Elms Farm fitting is plainer than the Hayling Island one, which has enamelling on the top, though it is possible that the empty hole in the top of the terminal may have originally held enamel or another substance.


Figure 521
Figure 521: Transport, 15-17

Twenty-two definite or possible hipposandal fragments were found, which constitutes a large assemblage. The only complete, though flattened, example was found during machining. They were found in contexts of all periods, although the largest number from a single period came from Period 3 (four examples).

This is a purely Roman type of artefact; however, two of the possible fragments were from Period 2 contexts (Late Iron Age-transitional), which might suggest very early use on this site. However, one of the contexts (Ditch 15530) contained intrusive Late Roman pottery, and if the object is part of a hipposandal, it seems likely that it is also intrusive. The second fragment is from a pit containing only Late Iron Age pot; the resemblance of the fragment to part of a hipposandal may be fortuitous.

Hipposandals are noticeably absent from the temple precinct, suggesting that horses may have been banned from the area (although it should be noted that there were two linchpins and a terret from the vicinity of the temple).

15. Hipposandal, type 2 (Manning 1985a, 65), with the side wings meeting to form a hook at the front. Almost complete, but flattened, with damage to the front and the rear hook. The base is ridged, a fairly common feature of hipposandals, which probably improved the grip of the shoe. L. 224mm, W. 115mm. SF255, Machining layer 4000, Area A, unstratified

16. Hipposandal wing, distorted by recent damage. The end of the wing is looped. This form of hooked wing is relatively rare; normally, where the side wings sweep forward to a hook, both side wings are joined in a single loop. There is a parallel from Verulamium (Manning 1984, 87, no. 25), and examples from London and various sites in Germany are cited. L. 92mm. SF5808, Fill 11139, Pit 10910, Group 676, Area N, Period 5

17. Probably an incomplete hipposandal wing with a looped end, as 11139 SF5808, although this example is perhaps rather small. It is unclear which edges are broken. There is a small triangular hole in the middle, which suggests that it might not be a hipposandal wing. L. 71mm, max. W. 25mm. SF4398, Fill 4874, Pit 4873, Group 743, Area K, Period 5

18. Not illustrated. Hipposandal heel, most of hook missing. Parallel sided. L. 100mm, max. W. 70mm. SF745, Machining layer 4000, Area A, unstratified

19. Not illustrated. Hipposandal wing. L. 68mm, W. 39mm. SF846, Layer 6025, Group 573, Area H, Period 5-6

20. Not illustrated. Hipposandal wing. L. 70mm, ht 48mm. SF1442, Machining layer 4000, Area A, unstratified

21. Not illustrated. Hipposandal heel, half of the hook missing. L. 75mm, W. 71mm. SF744, Machining layer 4000, Area A, unstratified

22. Not illustrated. Hipposandal wing, in good condition. L. 90mm, max. W. 34mm. SF1423, Machining layer 4000, Area A, unstratified

23. Not illustrated. Object, complete as buried. It resembles a tanged knife blade with a straight back, and most of the blade missing. The thickness is constant, and what would have been the cutting edge is bent at right angles. It is probably the side wing from a hipposandal, although it is unusually thick. L. 75mm, max. W. 28mm, th. 5mm. SF8241, Fill 4584, Pit 4582, Group 731, Area K, Period 3

24. Not illustrated. Hipposandal wing, type 2, broken. W. 28mm, L. 117mm. SF7715, Fill 4870, Pit 4913, Group 4016, Area K, Period 4.

25. Not illustrated. Hipposandal heel. A large, rather sharply trapezoidal, example, missing one side (fresh break). If symmetrical, the width would be c. 86mm. L. 73mm. SF5606, Fill 7732, Ditch 7749, Group 354, Area G, Period 3.

26. Not illustrated. Hipposandal, rear hook incomplete, wings and front hook missing. It probably has a ridge down the middle on the underside. L. 164mm, W. across wings 90mm, W. of heel 62mm. SF4935, 9698, Ditch 9772, Group 777, Area D, Period 3B-4.

27. Not illustrated. Front hook and parts of the integral wings of a type 2 hipposandal. This type, in which the wings join at the front, is the least common form of hipposandal. There are also two non-joining fragments, which are probably parts of the same object. This might be the front of the larger piece of hipposandal from the same context, but there are no joins. L. of hook 78mm. 9698, Ditch 9772, Group 777, Area D, Period 3B-4

28. Not illustrated. Hipposandal heel, hook incomplete. W. 70mm, L. 55mm. Cleaning layer 10506, Area F, not dated

29. Not illustrated. Hipposandal front hook, with recent damage to the loop. It is quite a broad strip, tapering gradually to the loop. L. 105mm, max. section 33x7mm. SF2623, Machining Layer 11000, Area A, unstratified

30. Not illustrated. Hipposandal front hook; a tapering strip, L. 111mm, max. section 19x7mm. SF3062, Machining layer 11000, Area A, unstratified

31. Not illustrated. Hipposandal heel. L. 94mm, W. 74mm. SF5670, Machining layer 11000, Area A, unstratified

32. Not illustrated. Plate fragment with curved edges, of variable width. Possibly a hipposandal wing. c. 48x30mm. SF6984, Fill 11343, Pit 11344, Group 59, Area N, Period 2

33. Not illustrated. Hipposandal wing, broken at the junction with the sole. The form is rather square, and it lacks the elongated point which appears more typical of hipposandal wings. 58x40mm. SF5131, Layer 13445, Group 600, Area I, Period 3B

34. Not illustrated. Hipposandal wing, broken at the junction with the sole. It has a rather square shape and elongated point, as Manning H2. L. 84mm, W. 38mm. SF6098, Layer 13445, Group 600, Area I, Period 3B

35. Not illustrated. Hipposandal heel. W. 67mm. SF6643, Fill 15515, Pit 15514, Group 696, Area M, Period 4

36. Not illustrated. Hipposandal heel? The shape is consistent with this identification, although it is thicker than normal, flat, and the 'hook' is straight Could this be part of a hipposandal discarded during manufacture? W. 68mm, L. 90mm. SF6650, Fill 15532, Ditch 15530, Group 147, Area M, Period 2.


Figure 522
Figure 522: Transport, 37-48

Ten linchpins and a possible linchpin loop were found, the largest group from a single site known to the writer. Eight were complete, or nearly complete. All were of Roman, rather than Iron Age, forms, nine of them belonging to the commonest Roman form, Manning's type 2b (1985a, 72). The type has a spatulate head, with a turned-over loop formed from the metal of the head. While conforming to the general spatulate shape, there was considerable variation in the shape of the heads, some being oval, others D-shaped. Type 2b appears to have been used throughout the Roman period, and throughout the Roman world; Manning (1985a, 74) cites an example from Pompeii, and many from Germany. Only five of the type 2b linchpins from Elms Farm are from dated contexts, with one from Period 3B, one from Period 4, one from Period 5, one from Period 5-6, and one from Period 6.

The group includes one very unusual piece, from a later/latest Roman context (SF573). Roman linchpins were very standardised, and nearly all of them can be fitted into Manning's typology, which is partly based on the form of the loop. While SF573 is clearly of the same form as Manning's type 2, the method of forming the loop is different from most examples. Normally, the loop is either inserted (type 2c), or is looped back from the top of the head towards the stem (the more common type 2b). In this example, the loop has been formed from metal taken from the stem, and bent back towards the top of the head. Other non-standard examples include one from Catterick (Mould 2002b, 86, no. 65), where the loop appears to have been formed from the head end (as normal), but hammered down flat onto the head, then looped back towards the head.

37. Linchpin. Manning type 2b. The head is rather more pointed than usual, and there is no step on the back of the stem. It is covered in concreted pebbles. L. 151mm, head W. 35mm, L. 31mm, shaft section 19x14mm. SF5108, Cleaning layer 5629, Area I, not phased

Linchpin with oval head and loop. Manning type 2b. It is very similar to a linchpin from Great Wakering, Essex (Manning 1985a, 74, H41), except that the present example has a more definite slight rebate at the bottom of the pin. L. 128mm, head 60x35mm. SF5105, Fill 13216, Pit 13358, Group 645, Area I, Period 5

39. Not illustrated. Linchpin, Manning type 2b. Complete as buried. It has quite a small head, almost oval, with a relatively large loop. There is possibly a slight step on the back of the stem. L. 140mm, head 44x33mm, loop ht 27mm, section of stem 14x14mm. SF6155, Machining layer 5000, Area J, not phased

40. Not illustrated. Linchpin, Manning type 2b, complete. Oval head with slightly asymmetrical shoulders. Rectangular sectioned shaft with step on back. L. 165mm, head 53x32mm, shaft section 15x13mm. SF3206, Make-up layer 5499, Group 434, Area H, Period 4

41. Not illustrated. Linchpin. Manning type 2b. There is a slight step across the back of the head, and between the head and the shaft. L. 158mm, head W. 36mm. SF890, cleaning layer 6026, Area H, not phased

42. Not illustrated. Linchpin, complete. Manning type 2b, with an elongated D-shaped head, and a step on the back of the stem. L. 185mm, head 50x47mm, section c. 17x17mm-17x13mm. SF1812, Cleaning layer 8000, Area E, not phased

43. Not illustrated. Linchpin, Manning type 2b. Complete. L. 178mm, head 45x36mm. SF2592, Machining layer 11000, Area A, unstratified

44. Not illustrated. Linchpin head, with most of the loop missing. Manning type 2b, with a spatulate head. Head L. 35mm, W. 37mm, overall L. 63mm. SF6404, Cleaning layer 15024, Area M, not phased

45. Not illustrated. Linchpin head, Manning type 2b. The spatulate head is somewhat lopsided, and the loop is set considerably off centre, almost completely off the line of the shaft. L. 70mm, head 54x38mm. SF5940, Fill 15233, Pit 15232, Group 471, Area M, Period 6

46. Linchpin. This is something of a curiosity, as it does not fit into Manning's typology. The loop has been formed from a strip of metal taken from the top of the stem, and looped back towards the head. The tip of the loop has been formed into a single coil. The stem narrows slightly towards the broken end. L. 140mm, head W. 31mm. SF573, Layer 5159, Group 457, Area J, Period 5-6

47. Not illustrated. Curved bar fragment, with a square section, probably the loop from a linchpin. External diam. c. 60mm, int. diam. c. 30mm. SF1484, Fill 10071, Gully 10072, Group 3011, Area I, Period 3B

Vehicle fitting

48. Object made from thick sheet, formed into a channel with a U-shaped profile (Figure 522). One end is squared, and probably original, the other is broken. It broadens slightly towards the broken end. The edges are damaged, but probably original. It has a large, square hole set centrally towards the complete end, with a smaller rectangular hole towards the broken end. It is possibly broken across a third hole. There are flecks of lead in the corrosion. The object is in poor condition, and the edges were unclear on the X-ray at the broken end. The surface was too poor for the conservator to define. The object is now fragmentary. L. 150mm, W. c. 75-100mm; depth of channel c. 58mm; holes 22x22mm and 10x8mm. SF1470, Fill 10000, Pit 10062, Group 811, Period 4

This is probably a pole binding from a vehicle. The placement of the large hole, through which the yoke pin would have passed, is similar to that on the pole binding from Newstead illustrated by Manning (1985a, 75, fig. 21.2), although the form is somewhat different. The pole tips illustrated by Manning are flat strips, with flanges at the end bent round to enclose the pole. There is no sign that the Elms Farm piece ever had flanges at the end.


Internet Archaeology is an open access journal based in the Department of Archaeology, University of York. Except where otherwise noted, content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY) Unported licence, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided that attribution to the author(s), the title of the work, the Internet Archaeology journal and the relevant URL/DOI are given.

Terms and Conditions | Legal Statements | Privacy Policy | Cookies Policy | Citing Internet Archaeology

Internet Archaeology content is preserved for the long term with the Archaeology Data Service. Help sustain and support open access publication by donating to our Open Access Archaeology Fund.