Scotlands History

Newbridge chariot

The Newbridge chariot was uncovered during an archaeological excavation near the Bronze-Age burial cairn of Huly Hill, at Newbridge, west of Edinburgh in 2001. The Iron-Age chariot was buried intact. It is the only Iron-Age chariot to ever be found in Scotland. It has been radiocarbon dated to the 5th century BC.

Iron-Age chariot burials have been found in England and on the continent.

The excavation was carried out by archaeologists from Headland Archaeology and the National Museum of Scotland.

This is a marvellous discovery - one of those entirely unexpected finds that changes our views on Scotland's past. A chariot like this would be the Ferrari of the Iron Age, and suggests someone important was buried there.

This chariot is unique in Scotland and extremely rare in Britain. The best parallels are in France and Belgium, showing the wide-ranging contacts at the time.

Fraser Hunter, curator, National Museum of Scotland, 2001

 

The Romans left us descriptions of the Caledonians fighting from war chariots at the Battle of Mons Graupius in 84 AD:

The enemy, to make a more formidable display, had posted himself on high ground; his van was on the plain, while the rest of his army rose in an arch-like form up the slope of a hill. The plain between resounded with the noise and with the rapid movements of chariots and cavalry...

...men and horses were carried along in confusion together, while chariots, destitute of guidance, and terrified horses without drivers, dashed as panic urged them, sideways, or in direct collision against the ranks.

Tacitus, Agricola

  • An image of the Newbridge chariot burial excavation from above
  • Image of the Newbridge chariot excavation
  • Painting of a tattooed Iron Age warrior standing on the backs of two ponies

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Listen to the chronicles of the historian Tacitus on the Roman general Agricola's invasion of Britain.