Archaeological Oddities: The Ballachulish Figure

AO Ballachulish Figure

This Iron Age wooden figure, found near the banks of Loch Leven, Argyll, used to give me the creeps. But I feel more affection for her now, after reading about the rough treatment she had, both in the nineteenth century and back in the Iron Age.

Accounts of her discovery suggest that she was either bound in a wickwork structure or weighted down with hurdles during her burial – in a manner also found with bog body burials.

When she was dug out of a peat bog in 1880 she was allowed to dry out – leading to the stretching and warping of her features. Her legs were broken on the journey to Edinburgh, and finally a section of the carving broke off.

As she is flat chested she has been described as a girl or “young goddess”. And that promise of future fertility? Written accounts describe her as holding a phallic object in her right hand. It’s hard to tell from the photos and drawings – so I will have to verify this when Dr A and I go up to Edinburgh this summer!

Read more about the figure here and here.

More Archaeological Oddites here.

Or buy them here.

Dr H



Archaeological Oddities: The Deal Warrior

AO The Deal Warrior-005


You can read more about the Deal warrior on the British Museum website here and here – though I’m not keen on the idea of him being a “warrior priest”.

The objects in the grave tell a fascinating story. The sword may have been made up to two centuries before the scabbard – and the scabbard was made to fit a different sword. The crown was reworked from an earlier crown or artefact, the shield had been deliberately broken.

The warrior’s grave at Mill Hill references an Early Bronze Age barrow, but also acts as a foundation burial for the Iron Age cemetery.

In this way the burial looks backwards and forwards, collating and assembling objects – not all made for the warrior and many of them with extensive life histories and associations – as well as linking burial sites.



Look out for news about Volume 2 of Archaeological Oddities soon.

You can read more Archaeological Oddities here.

Or buy Volume One here.

Dr H

Archaeological Oddities: Llyn Cerrig Bach


AO Llyn Cerrig Bach-001


Thank to John Swogger for suggesting I tackle this site, to Helen Chittock for lending me the original report, to Jody Joy for a list of references and to Dr A for discussing ideas with me.

Other Archaeological Oddities can be found here.

Read more about the Llyn Cerrig Bach finds on John Swogger’s site and on the National Museum of Wales website.

Archaeological Oddities: The Penbryn Spoons


AO Divination


You can read more about the spoons, and similar finds here and here and here.

Click here for more Archaeological Oddities.

A5 copies of Archaeological Oddities Volume One now available on my etsy shop – only £2 + postage!

Dr H