Iron Age hound keeps watch over treasure haul

harborough dogA dog that was left to guard the treasure of an Iron Age shrine more than 2,000 years ago will continue to watch over it when it goes on display for the first time in a museum.

It is thought that the dog was one of three sacrificed to watch over the shrine containing more than 5,000 Roman coins sometime between 1 and 50 AD. It is roughly the same size and build as a modern day German shepherd, and therefore large by Iron Age standards, leading to speculation that it was a guard dog. The Hallaton Treasure, as it is called, also contains other artefacts, such as a Roman cavalry soldier’s parade helmet and several mystery artefacts, which have prompted much debate over their purpose.

Until very recently the hound’s remains were kept at Leicester University, where they were studied and reassembled by experts on the Archaeological Services team. The bones have found a home in a specially designed display, which will be located at the entrance of the Hallaton Treasure Gallery in Harborough Museum, Leicestershire.

David Sprason, Cabinet Member for Adults and Communities for Leicestershire County Council said:

“It is fitting that the remains of this dog be reunited with the magnificent objects from the Hallaton Treasure and find a new home at the award-winning Harborough Museum.”

“The dog’s story is yet another intriguing aspect of this nationally important find and illustrates the special relationship between humans and dogs that has existed for thousands of years.”

The dog will go on display from 29th January.