Slave's yoke, Lacoste, Mouliets-et-Villemartin (Gironde)

2nd - 1st century B.C. Iron. Inv.: 79.18.102

This yoke, more commonly known by its French name of carcan, is comprised of a collar with two moving parts, the jaws, and 26 figure-eight shaped rings plus an oval. The extremities of the jaws are flattened and perforated with a hole in which the closure system was placed (padlock, rivet or ring of the preceding prisoner's chain). This is one of the rare examples that we know of from Iron Age Gaul.

With a diameter of around 16 cm, the collar of this carcan was most probably intended for prisoners. These items are known to have been used for domestic animals (dogs, bullocks etc.), but their dimensions are different.

This carcan was discovered on the site of Lacoste at Mouliets-et-Villemartin (Gironde), which at its peak in the 2nd century B.C. was a very active small craft and commercial settlement close to the Garonne, a very busy trade route between the British Isles, northern Europe and the Mediterranean world.

Photo du carcan d’esclave

Slave's yoke, Lacoste, Mouliets-et-Villemartin (Gironde) (c) mairie de Bordeaux