Carnyx (war trumpet of the Celts )

This early ‘trombone’ if you like dates back about 2000 years ago to the late bronze age/early iron age. This one was found in Deskford in Moray. The design is based on a British Wild Boar (symbol of the MacKinnon Clan) It was formed in Bronze and depicts the creature in a state of arousal with its hackle up and with a wooden tongue.

There are different schools of thought on its use : either ceremonial – ritualistic, sacred or used in battle to inspire warriors like the modern Scottish bagpipe. The name ‘carnyx’ comes from Graeco/Roman terminology which also came up with ‘Celtic’ – tribes who occupied Eastern Europe including what is now Scotland about 2000years ago. The Celts were a sophisticated culture reflected in linguistic, mythological and design areas.

These items are on display in the Early Peoples Gallery at the National Museum of Scotland.  Book a gallery or museum tour at  Walking Tours



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