I've located my notes from the conference "On the Edge of Europe - In the
Heart of a Continent" 6 September 2003 in Dublin, at which Barry Raftery
gave a paper titled "Celtic Arrivals in Ireland" that I referred to
yesterday. And to respond to David:
"It is a frequent misconception that absence of
archaeological evidence is evidence for absence of the object. But this is
neither logically so nor practically. However, as Richard pointed out
already, there is actually even archaeological evidence ..."
My notes paraphrase Raftery: <No archaeological evidence of chariots in
Ireland; not indication that they did not exist. ... 4m planks on 2km road
indirect evidence of chariots -- longest in W. Europe, oak timbers 148 BC;
same type road in Germany, same date ... Corlea Trackway [made of planks]
too thick, sank; German roads thin planks & floated.>
Raftery pointed out that chariot bodies were made of wicker to save weight,
and they would disintegrate quickly.
Also: <100 examples of bronze horse bits and trappings made in Ireland with
influence from abroad; Continental bits [were] made of iron [which corrodes
quickly; bronze survives]; one bronze bit repaired 11 times.>
The salivation caused by the copper in the bronze helps keep the horse's
mouth soft, and so these bits were preferred to the iron, though they were
more liable to breakage.