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detail of a drinking horn
Anglo-Saxon, late 6th century AD
From the princely burial at Taplow, Buckinghamshire

Made from Aurochs horns with silver-gilt mounts

These drinking horns are made from the extremely large horns of the aurochs (Bos primigenius), the ancestor of modern domestic cattle. Such horns are among the rarest finds from early Anglo-Saxon England. They were clearly one of the most prestigious possessions and have a long history amongst the barbarian peoples of Europe. Tacitus, writing in the first century AD, describes how the Germani trapped and killed aurochs and then made drinking horns which they decorated with silver mounts. These two horns from the princely burial at Taplow show that this tradition was still alive among the élite in the sixth century. They would have been used for ceremonial drinking and feasting in a great hall.

The horns are mounted with bird-headed terminals and panels of silver-gilt foils at the mouth. The lip is protected by a silver-gilt rim binding held by four clips in the form o
Flanged_silver_bowl_detail.jpg Golden_neck_ring_from_a_Saxon_hoard.jpg k23715.jpg k65932.jpg k87212.jpg lanx_detail.jpg
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