Ancient Celtic warhorn found in Suffolk field to go up for auction

Ivan Bailey found an almost 2,000 year old celtic horn in a field in Suffolk

Ivan Bailey found an almost 2,000 year old Celtic horn in a field in Suffolk - Credit: Dix, Noonan and Webb

A rare Celtic warhorn known as a carnyx, which was found in a Suffolk field by a metal detector enthusiast, is to be put up for auction next week. 

The horn will be in Dix Noonan Webb's auction of coins, historical medals and antiquities which is to be held over Wednesday and Thursday, December 1 and 2. 

Estimated to sell for £2,000-£3,000, the carnyx was discovered five years ago when detectorist Ivan Bailey was fixing the fencing around a grassy field near Bardwell, in west Suffolk. 

After finding only cartridge cases Ivan, who has been metal detecting for 30 years, got a strong signal on his XP Deus metal detector and dug down eight inches to discover the bronze trumpet. 

He took it to the museum in Bury St Edmunds, where it was recorded as a find of note, and they said it held a striking resemblance to carnyx, despite being much smaller. 

This is the second Carnyx ever found on the British Isles, and it was found in a field in Bardwell, Suffolk

This is the second Carnyx ever found on the British Isles, and it was found in a field in Bardwell, Suffolk - Credit: Dix Noonan Webb

Nigel Mills, Artefacts and Antiquities Consultant at Dix Noonan Webb, explains: “The miniature trumpet which dates from the 1st century AD has a hollow slightly curved shaft with a snarling boar’s head at the summit with a wide open mouth projecting forwards and a series of curving crests along its back.

"There is a small opening behind the head which could have been for attachment of a wooden tongue.”

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He added: “The only known carnyx found in Britain was in 1816 in Deskford, Scotland, and was a lip reed instrument mounted on a vertical hollow pole with a mouthpiece at the bottom.

"Three carnyx players are illustrated on the famous Gundestrup cauldron, which is on display in the National Museum of Denmark.”

Ivan Bailey has been metal detecting for more than 30 years, and found the carnyx in a field in Bardwell, Suffolk

Ivan Bailey has been metal detecting for more than 30 years - Credit: Dix Noonan Webb

Ivan, who has been building fences since age 14, will share the profits equally with the landowner. 

If you want to listen to the haunting sound of the carnyx, this youtube video from the National Museum of Scotland shows musician John Kenny playing a replica of the one found at Deskford. 

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