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15 December 2012
Iron Age feast found in England

The discovery of 13 Iron Age cauldrons in Chiseldon, west of London, England, is the largest such grouping ever found in Europe. One features a handle plate in the form of a cow's head; zoomorphic decoration is otherwise unknown on a British cauldron.
     The cauldrons were made in the second or first century BCE, and built to last, with an iron rim and a bowl of sheet copper alloy riveted together. The artefacts were found buried in a 2 metre wide pit along with skulls from a number of cattle.
     What the cauldrons were last used for is a bit of a mystery, but Jody Joy and team of European Iron Age collections at the British Museum suspect "large quantities of food and drink were probably consumed." Feasts at the time "would have marked significant events in the calendar or special occasions, such as marriages."
     Archaeologist Mike Pitts, who also edits British Archaeology, said that "notwithstanding the cattle skulls, it might well have been pork. Pigs were important animals in feasting. Of course, whatever was in the cauldrons was boiled."

Edited from Discovery News (12 December 2012)

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