Iron Age Britain
Late Iron Age, Deal, Kent | Snailwell, Cambridgeshire.
Snakes with their tails in each other's mouths, stylised into an interconnected spiral motif.
Miranda could see Quintin squinting at his artwork and knew that he was about to say something that would probably be ridiculous. 'What is it,' she asked, reluctantly.
'You know about Minoan double axes?'
'Oh no,' she sighed.
'What?' asked Quintin.
'This design was found on a sword scabbard from an Iron Age grave in Kent,' replied Miranda. 'It has been dated to about 300 BC. Slap bang in the middle of the British Iron Age. What could be Minoan about it?'
‘Well, nothing really, I suppose. Except, well, if you look at the circular designs as stylised serpents biting each others’ tails, then you have this interconnected spiral motif partly made up of these snakes with their tails in each other's mouths, and in the centre of each circle, the ones defined by the two snakes, is a shape that looks, well, just a little bit like some distant recollection of a double axe, don’t you think?’
Miranda had a good look at the computer's interpretation of Quintin’s line drawing. ‘Interesting, although I prefer to see them as snakes biting each other's tails myself, but have a look at this,’ she said, and passed Quintin an artistic representation she had made of a bracelet found in a late Iron Age grave at Snailwell in Cambridgeshire. ‘This was buried a decade or so before the Roman Invasion of Britain,’ she said. ‘Others like it have been found from the first and second centuries AD in Scotland and Wales. Definitely a snake bracelet.’