NORFOLK Museums Service
Enamelled Bridle Bit

Enamelled Bridle Bit from Swanton Morley

This bridle bit is a remarkable survivor of over 2000 years, as it is still complete and in exceptionally good condition. Originally it would have been used in the horse’s mouth to control the animal, reins being attached to the two ends. It was found by a farmer in his yard after he had been scraping away soil.

Horses were important in the Iron Age as they showed that their owners were rich and powerful. The tack and fittings used to harness horses, particularly to chariots, could often be decorated with Celtic art styles and colourful inlays of enamel as on this example. Similar other bridle bits have been found in Dumfriesshire, Scotland and in Yorkshire, and date to the first century AD.

L:325mm; D: 74mm