Replica of a carnyx

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from an original found at Deskford, Banffshire

Postcard of Replica of a carnyx.
© National Museums Scotland

Replica of a carnyx

This is a reconstruction of a carnyx, an Iron Age war trumpet. Made for the National Museums of Scotland by John Creed, it is based on an original bronze and brass carnyx head found at Deskford in Banffshire. The original carnyx dates from between 80 and 200 AD.

This detail shows the head of the carnyx. Shaped from sheet bronze and brass, it resembles a wild boar, a symbol of strength and fearlessness. The wooden tongue can move as the trumpet is played and carried. The eyes have been reconstructed in enamel.

Only the head survives of the original carnyx. The missing parts (the crest, ears and long tube) were based upon other examples, pictures on Roman objects and written descriptions.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-001-149-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.1992.25
Date: Between late 1st and 3rd century AD
Original carnyx: Between 80 and 200 AD
Material: Bronze and brass with enamel for eye inserts
What: Carnyx / replica
Who: John Creed (maker)
Where: Scotland, Banffshire, Deskford
Description: Bronze and brass replica of the Deskford carnyx, with wooden tongue and enamel eye inserts, from Deskford, Banffshire, between late 1st and 3rd century AD
  • Calder, Jenni (ed). The Wealth of a Nation. Edinburgh & Glasgow: NMS & Drew, 1989, p 100 
  • MacGregor, Morna. Early Celtic art in North Britain. Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1976, vol. 1, pp 87-9, 104, 109; vol. 2, no. 188. 
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