Celtic Phallic Woad Grinder (Dates from Around 100 BC)

It had been raining hard and the field was a little bit muddy to say the least. After about an hour of hard slog and nothing to show for it, I attracted my digging mate Jim's attention to that fact that I had had enough and was on my way back to the car. Half way back, it felt like my height had grown from about 5'10" to 6'4" with all the clinging mud on my boots. It was then that I got a good signal, so I dug down into the mud, which as you will know, is not easy, as it sticks like glue. I reached into the last lump of muck I had lifted and pulled out a strange metal object, when Jim caught up with me, he said in good king’s English (what’s tha fon then?) I said I think it's part of a bucket handle and was just about to throw it away when a little voice in the back of my head said "No", so instead I stuck it in my pocket without another thought. It was only when I got home and washed the mud off, that the penny finally dropped and I saw it was a woad grinder! Wow!

I went back to the field as soon as the conditions improved and searched for the top half of the woad grinder, but was unlucky. Perhaps another day, because I will never give up you know!

The story goes, when a Celtic warrior went into battle he was naked and daubed in blue woad all over his body. His hair would be spiked up with mud. So with a small shield and a big sword and screaming like a banshee, he would present a very scary sight as he charge at you with murder in his eyes, and you would think all your nightmares had come at once - although I think these days he could quite easily fit into any Saturday night town centre at turning out time and no one would notice.

PS The woad plant is now very scarce in England and grows only in small areas in the south of England.

Copyright © 2000 All Rights Reserved.