They travelled in long wooden boats rowed by oarsmen. These Bronze Age swords represent the earliest swords of Europe and some of the oldest objects in the Museum. With the introduction of copper, and eventually bronze, daggers could be made longer, and evolved into swords.The evolution of the dagger into the sword is thus gradual, and in 2004 the first "swords" have been claimed for the Early Bronze Age (c. 33rd to 31st centuries), based on finds at Arslantepe, weapo… These demonstrated a certain amount of complexity, with three cremation burials contained within the cists and another disturbed cremation burial with an associated cordoned urn identified beneath the cairn material. “A Bronze Age shield and rapier are very rare examples of the huge wealth our predecessors had – they are the modern-day equivalent of buying the world's most expensive sports car and watch. Cist 1 [015] was aligned westnorthwest-eastsoutheast and was rectangular in plan, measuring 1.1m by 0.7m and 0.5m in depth. This type of pattern is formed by impressing whipped cord, for example on the urn from West Ashy in Lincolnshire (Longworth 1984, Pl 14a, 226); and twisted cord, eg Llandian, Gwynedd (ibid Pl 18b, 327), Kirriemuir in Tayside (ibid Pl 51C, 313) and Kettle in Fife (ibid 313, Pl 90(e)); and by incision, for example on urns from Chorley, Lancs (ibid 217, Pl 82b), in this case enclosed between single linear incised lines with an incised lattice on the neck and a row of jabs on the shoulder; Tara, Co Meath (ibid Pl 93a, 2236), Inverkeithing, Fife (ibid, Pl 102a, 1823), and West Hampshire (ibid, Pl 107(b), 649). Two hand-excavated trenches were also placed within a probable ring-cairn (Canmore ID: 47645). Several of the cairns and funerary monuments have been excavated, including the so-called ‘Hero's Cairn’ (Canmore ID: 47644) (Christison 1890), and a possible flat cemetery on the summit of Cairngryffe Hill (Canmore ID: 47695) from which urns or similar vessels were recovered during drainage works (ibid.). The 3,500-year-old … They could also have been used for the insertion of burials or ritual deposits. A date for this development sometime in the later 17th early 16th century BC appears most likely, but there is no clear dividing line between daggers, dirks and rapiers. This type of complexity and phasing with regards to earlier activities was also seen in the nearby, now-quarried Cairngryffe Hill ring-cairn, where internal rings of stone kerbs or postholes demarcated different areas beneath the cairn material (Lelong & Pollard 1998a). Their locations, close to the cairn, suggested the potential for their having been placed close to the cairn in prehistory. However, the full picture must sadly remain incomplete due to the modern disturbance which subsequently took place upon the site. This material had similar compaction and character to the re-deposited cairn material (009). Beneath the upper cairn material, (011), an inner ‘ring’ of kerb stones [014] was identified. They are most likely a natural phenomenon. An interesting parallel between this site and the Swaites Hill cairn is that both had their outer kerb formed by paired stones and that these stones were typically laid flat, with their longest axis placed horizontally rather than set upright. The dates place the activity on site within the early Bronze Age with later, 19th century, disturbance. Too few sherds are present to reconstruct the profile of either vessel. The fifth and final phase relates to the modern destruction and removal of much of the upper cairn material (011). There is a possible part perforation 5mm in diameter, 35mm below the lip. In addition to books, recent volumes of the journal have reviewed new museums, exhibitions and research on Scotland published in periodical literature. Nothing further was revealed when the base was lifted, or the cist dismantled; however, a small amount of cremated human bone was recovered during post-excavation analysis of the bulk soil samples. The hilting arrangement of latest in this class begins to have similarities with the earliest of the leaf-shaped swords of the following Late Bronze Age, known as Ballintober swords. The only charcoal species identified within cremation [028] was oak. Sold. It was, however, incomplete, with much of the butt and the blade tip missing. The evaluation confirmed the suspected clearance cairns to be exactly that; their age could not, however, be ascertained. Forgotten your password? The site has produced large quantities of Bronze Age metalwork, including a rapier and sword in 1969, and more recently the discovery of nine pristinely preserved log boats in 2011. Respecting the integrity of the context and find numbers, each bone fragment was then examined and sorted according to anatomical area and the results recorded on an Excel spreadsheet. The excavation at Testwood Lake of the oldest bridge in England presented archaeologists with an interesting challenge The timbers were found during the excavation of a temporary lagoon which would be flooded with water two weeks after they were found. A rare find of a bronze age rapier sword blade, approximately 3,500 years old, was donated to Torquay Museum by two members of the Newton Abbot and District Metal Detecting Club. The compaction of the lower cairn fabrics, (029) and (018), is at odds with the loosely-compacted nature of the upper cairn material (011) which suggests they derive from different phases, with the location of disturbed cremation (017), which lay between lower cairn material (029) and upper cairn material (011) confirming that the lower cairn material located between the inner and outer kerbs was earlier. The surface was also poorly preserved, with large areas of encrustation present and only small portions of the original finish surviving, with the blade edge surviving intact over only one small length. New here? All three are nearly ready to be hilted, with the Ci leading the gang (it's already 90% polished.) The Class 2 weapon has a simpler cross-section, typically with a slight central ridge marking its lozenge shaped cross-section. The Middle Bronze Age rapier would have been a later, 16th to 15th century BC, addition to the site, perhaps deposited within a recess on the outside face of the outer kerb (potentially built into the kerb in order to receive it) or within a pit or cist sunk into the upper cairn material. Rather, they may have comprised solitary standing stones incorporated into the cairn. More recent experiments by Walker et al. Cist 2 [016] was situated 0.8m to the southeast of cist [015]. Two of these <05> and <06> from the topsoil were microblades, each with a retouched notch associated with a shallow retouch edges (on the same edge and opposed respectively). The underside of the bottom edge of the collar is defined by a row of stab decoration. The first phase is partly conjectural and based on observation of the site plans. The date recovered from this soil horizon gave a terminus post quem for the cairn with a date range from the early 23rd to the early 22nd century BC. It is widely accepted that the colour of bone changes with increasing temperature (see for example Ubelaker 1978, 34; Mays, 1998, 217, and the following further references). The latter is more typical of kerbed cairns. It consisted of sub-angular and sub-rounded stones in a mid-grey-orange slightly clay sand matrix, had a maximum thickness of 0.2m and was distinguished by its firmer compaction compared with (011). A total of 19 fragments of charred hazelnut shell (0.4g) were recovered from context (021), which comprised the primary fill of Cist 2, and context (023), which comprised the cremation deposit in Cist 1. Between 2013 and 2015, Rathmell Archaeology Ltd carried out archaeological works on behalf of Cloburn Quarry Company Ltd in advance of a quarry extension. A Bronze Age cairn and rapier find from Swaites Hill, Cloburn Quarry, South Lanarkshire, Phase 1: Initial Cist Burials & Possible Early Kerb, Phase 2: The Inner Kerb & Pre-Cairn Activity, Classification and description of lithic artefacts: a discussion of the basic lithic terminology, Forts, camps and motes of the Upper Ward of Lanarkshire, Fire modification of bone: a review of the literature, A New Look at the Late Bronze Age Metalwork from the Tay, Olcote, Breasclete Park, Callanish (Uig parish), burial cairn and quartz scatter, Excavation of an Early Bronze Age Cemetery and other sites at West Water Reservoir, West Linton, Scottish Borders, Préhistoire de la Pierre Taillée Tome 3 (Meudon), Excavation of a Bronze Age ring cairn at Cloburn Quarry, Cairngryffe Hill, Lanarkshire, The excavation and survey of prehistoric enclosures at Blackshouse Burn, Lanarkshire, Olcote, Breasclete Park, Callanish (Uig parish), kerb cairn and quartz scatter, Middle Bronze Age Dirks and Rapiers from Scotland: Some Finds Old and New, The excavation of Cairnwell ring-cairn, Portletten, Aberdeenshire, Unpublished grey literature report by Rathmell Archaeology Ltd, Dating the Scottish Bronze Age: ‘There is clearly much that the material can still tell us, “..beads which have given rise to much dogmatism, controversy and rash speculation”: faience in Early Bronze Age Britain and Ireland, Burnt bones and Teeth: an Experimental Study of Color, Morphology, Crystal Structure and Shrinkage, Time, temperature and oxygen availability: an experimental study of the effects of environmental conditions on the colour and organic content of cremated bone, with contributions by Alan Duffy, Rob Engl, Fraser Hunter, Rachel Ives, Ann Macsween, Jackaline Robertson and Suerc Illustrated by Graeme Carruthers, Attila Csaba and Leonora O'Brien,, Neolithic Pits, a Bronze Age Cremation and an Early Iron Age Ring-Ditch at Newton Farm, Cambuslang, Lanarkshire, A Neolithic Structure and Bronze Age Activity at West Flank Road, Drumchapel, Glasgow, Blades for the gods, blades for the dead: a Bronze Age rapier from Swaites Hill, South Lanarkshire, Excavation of a Bronze Age Ring-Groove House at Inverkip, Inverclyde, A Bronze Age Cairn at Coneypark, Stirling, Castlebank Street and the origins of the Bishop's house/Partick Castle, Excavating a Mid-Iron Age crouched inhumation on the shores of Loch Gruinart, Islay, Argyll and Bute, The excavation of Bankhead homestead, Darvel, Ayrshire, Remnants of a cremation burial from cist [016], Charcoal-rich deposit over possible hearth, Australian Research Council ERA 2012 Journal List, CNKI (China National Knowledge Infrastructure), European Reference Index for the Humanities (ERIH PLUS), International Medieval Bibliography (IMB), Norwegian Register for Scientific Journals, Series and Publishers, Web of Science/Emerging Sources Citation Index. Largest offer of handmade swords from the Bronze age to the Roman Empire. They were not intended to cleave limb from body, or cause gross injury through force alone - they were weapons of more finesse. Fragments of an Early Bronze Age urn (see pottery) were also recovered from the re-deposited cairn material and these, too, may originally have derived from a now-destroyed burial within the cairn. There is also a hint, however, that its final shape resulted from the sequential construction of a series of smaller kerbed compartments which were eventually restructured into a single, final, inner kerb, with – presumably – parts of these smaller kerbed compartments removed in the process. Stone moulds for a Middle Bronze Age rapier (left) and a spearhead (right). An attempt to obtain a radiocarbon date from the small amount of cremated human bone recovered failed as insufficient carbon remained within the sampled bone. Although there are some slight differences in the reported results, in the main, the higher the temperature, the lighter the colour. The pattern on the Swaites Hill urn has parallels with urns from England and Wales as well as Scotland (here the references are to the catalogue in Longworth's volume which contains bibliographic references, museum collection, etc). More problematic to explain is that of the primary burial in Cist 1. Rathmell Archaeology Ltd carried out the excavation of a disturbed kerbed cairn at Swaites Hill, Cloburn Quarry, South Lanarkshire. Some stone moulds survive for the casting of rapiers, and it is most probable that ceramic moulds were also widely used in their manufacture. At least five possible phases for the construction and usage of the Swaites Hill cairn can be extrapolated from both its stratigraphy and overall morphology. The rapier may originally have been placed within this recess following the deposition of upper cairn material (011). The ensuing development of the full tang swords during this period of change began to displace the rapiers, as they could be made more robustly and thus deliver more powerful blows than the rapier. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Rapier / Dirk; Dirk or Rapier; Dirk or Dagger; Dagger; Rapier/dirk; Dirk or Dagger. Published by Edinburgh University Press on behalf of the Glasgow Archaeological Society. Preservation was good, making them suitable for radiocarbon dating. These formed an annular kerb approximately 14m in diameter and relatively uniform around its circumference. The former is known to have occurred in the area (Ferguson 1794) when the digging out of large stones for building material was recorded from a large enclosure, most likely the Blackshouse Burn enclosure 900m to the south. Sheridan and Shortland (2004) have observed that the rapid spread of collared urn use may be related to networks of contact, perhaps associated with bronze manufacturing. Caution should be noted in this assertion: the sampling and processing strategy focused on burial contexts and related structural features, and hence we do not have a robust means of recognising the normal range in quartz gravel present within sediments. It consisted of a mottled clay silt with frequent fragments of ash charcoal (Fraxinus sp.). 17 of the sherds are decorated. The hoard was found in chalk rubble, probably during the excavation of building foundations. These culminated in the full area excavation of Swaites Hill cairn (Canmore ID: 47645), Cloburn Quarry, South Lanarkshire. The fabric is fine clay with roughly 60% of well crushed angular fragments which has fired hard and is red with a grey core (Fig 8). However, in contrast to this belief, the majority of the surviving pieces in regions that have been studied (Ireland and the River Thames) were clearly used in combat, and have the scars to prove it. Edinburgh University Press. Terminology broadly follows the conventions of Wickham-Jones (1990) and Inizan et al. Sold. The other miscellaneous contexts consisted of single bones or very small deposits, from which very little information could be extracted. This is the grooved rapier from Isleham, Cambridgeshire (Burgess & Gerloff 1981, Cat. These swords had light blades, with two cutting edges and a sharp point. Both sites are within easy walking distance of Swaites Hill, and similar stone-robbing or investigation can easily be envisaged at the Swaites Hill cairn. Re: Bronze Age Tool. It is uncertain whether they evolved first in Britain or Ireland, but the accident of survival / differential archaeological preservation makes it too difficult to be in any way dogmatic about the point of origin. Its displacement sadly removed any chance we may have had at establishing its chronological and spatial relationship with cairn and burials; it may, for example, have accompanied a cist or burial incorporated into the upper cairn material and subsequently destroyed. Of the remaining pieces, after excluding the chunks (14 lithics), there were five blades (including two microblades) and six flakes (four regular, two irregular). Our knife is from the latter group – an adhering or cortex-like material on the dorsal surface may have been a consequence of hafting, but this is highly speculative. Cremated remains were often either placed in an urn or an urn was placed upside down over cremated remains in a pit or cist. Below the collar the exterior surface is decorated with approximately vertical lines which sometimes intersect. The interior was filled to a depth of 470mm by (021) a mid-orange-brown sandy silt with occasional flecks of birch charcoal (Betula sp.). A second urn and further cremated human bone deposits were found in the upper cairn material. The quartz may have been deposited deliberately, though the possibility that it entered the cists via natural means cannot be ruled out. The cremation burials from Swaites Hill consisted of two cremations in Cist 1 (a primary and secondary), and a third disturbed cremation from the cairn. Another example is provided by Olcote Cairn on Lewis, an 8m diameter kerbed cairn that contained within its fabric an earlier kerb, 6.5m in diameter (Curtis & Curtis 1995, Neighbour 1996). Its modern origins were inferred from the fact that its character differed markedly from the parent cairn material: the deposit was only moderately compacted, with no regular pattern of deposition evident amongst the stone component and residual lenses of topsoil (001) occurring on a regular basis. Archaeological literature refers to these as 'dirks' and 'rapiers', but despite the inherent inferences these names make with regard to use, they should truly be regarded as swords, and the progenitors of the lineage which continued through the many ages of man which were to follow. Dating evidence recovered from the cremation suggested a date range between the late 22nd and mid 20th century BC, similar to the cremations recovered from within Cist 1. As a point of reference, furnaces in modern crematoria were said to operate at between 820°C and 980°C (Wells 1960, 35), or according to McKinley, between 700°C and 1000°C (2001, 283). The Bronze Age rapier was recovered from a spread of redeposited cairn material (009). The third phase was the construction of the outer kerb [012] and the deposition of compacted cairn fabric (029) between the inner and outer kerbs. The bevel is decorated with a row of (probably) incised lines just below the lip and a row of slightly oblique whipped cord impressed lines in the opposite direction below. The fact that the two cists were not located centrally within the cairn may suggest that they were enclosed initially by a smaller oval-shaped kerb, measuring 7m by 6m, which was later expanded into the larger inner kerb [014]. On excavation, however, they proved to be resting on top of, or within, topsoil (001), suggesting that they were more likely to have be displaced when the mound was slighted. Lasting for approximately 1,700 years, it was preceded by the era of Neolithic Britain and was in turn followed by the period of Iron Age Britain.Being categorised as the Bronze Age, it was marked by the use of copper and then bronze by the prehistoric Britons, who used such metals to fashion tools. As well as the rapier, found by the site director Douglas Gordon, three cremation burials and two urns were also identified. Home / Sold / Artefacts - Sold / Neolithic & Bronze Age / Bronze Age Rapier. Thanks should be given to all the specialist contributors and particularly to the post excavation coordination carried out by Louise Turner. This would explain why the cists were not located centrally within the overall cairn structure. Wells found that black colouring occurs with temperatures of less than 800°C, while temperatures above 800°C produced calcined bone, which ranged in colour from bluish-grey to white. Such artefacts are more often found in wet places such as peat bogs where they have been placed as votive deposits, so the discovery of an isolated specimen in close association with a burial monument of broadly comparable date is of immense significance. Stone is however very fragile, and therefore not practical to be used as swords. It is likely to belong to the Acton Park 2, Taunton (Cemmaes) or Pennard metalwork assemblage, corresponding to Needham’s (1997) Period 5, c. 1500-1150BC. The weapons themselves are typically quite light, but comparatively robust pieces, and were most often wedged into an organic handle (horn being the most common surviving material), further secured by means of rivets which gripped the hilt tight around the base of the blade and also limited movement. One of the bronze handled pieces from Ireland has such a small handle as to indicate suggest the intriguing possibility that some were belonging to female warriors. The other two cremations, the primary burial from the cist and that from context [017] fell far short of a full cremation. It measured 19m long and 3.5m wide and was up to 0.26m in depth. On the paved floor [031] a discreet deposit of oak charcoal (Ouercus sp.) Charcoal was present in all 19 samples, though very fragmentary in eight, with material suitable for species identification only present in 11 (Table 2). and cremated human bone. The journal includes a range of papers reporting on fieldwork, discussion of museum collections and consideration of the social and intellectual context of Scottish archaeology. "The history of the sword is the history of mankind", a bold statement by Richard Burton in the late nineteenth century, yet one that holds a ring of truth to it. Of the remaining 36 lithics, two raw material types were present: flint (7 lithics, 20% – grey to translucent brown in colour) and chert (29 lithics, 80% – light to dark grey in colour, some pieces exhibiting banding or mottling). It is uncertain where these swords fit into this panoply, or how they were viewed by warriors of the time. The rapier sword was found locally near a site which had been inhabited for a period of at least 5,000 years, dating back from the Neolithic period to the present day. Four of the group had been recovered in Scotland prior to 2015: two from Dumfries and Galloway (Lower Nunton and Glentrool), and two from Perthshire (Pitcaithly and Friarton). Once the burning process is completed and the remains have cooled, they then have to be collected from the pyre site before deposition in the place of burial. Its displacement sadly removed any chance we may have had at establishing its chronological and spatial relationship with cairn and burials; it may, for example, have accompanied a cist or burial incorporated into the upper cairn material and subsequently destroyed. Visit for further information about the Glasgow Archaeological Society. Indeed dating evidence can be rather difficult with regard to the four classes as one of each class has been found in association with each of the other classes in the hoards of Britain. Two gaps were noted, the first at the baulk between Zones 3 and 4 and the second in Zone 1 near the baulk with Zone 2. The authors would like to thank Cloburn Quarry Developments for funding this project and for their support throughout. The results are given in Table 3 and have been calibrated to calendar dates. In general, the evolution of blade weapons in the Bronze Age is from the dagger or knife in the Early Bronze Age to the earliest narrow bladed "rapier" swords optimized for thrusting from the Middle Bronze Age to the typical leaf-shape blades in the Late Bronze Age. The total weight of charcoal recovered was 26.6g. Though no grave goods were found within the cists a small number of lithics were identified during the processing of the soil samples taken from them. Been placed within a probable ring-cairn ( Canmore ID: 47645 ) contributors and particularly to the modern disturbance subsequently! End scraper hilting mechanism could not be established from the cairn itself some seven pieces debitage. These early swords in comparison to later, more robust types 007 ) consisted of very dark brown silt... S: KEY TOPICS had a maximum blade width of 18mm 2 have. Possible rapier ( Fragment ) Dirk or rapier ; Dagger ; Bronze rapier... Spearhead ( right ) cists 1 and a palstave - or chisel - were within. ( 2000 ) carried out the excavation of a practice later supplanted by the deposition of upper material. And probably adult to Peterborough Museum for permission to photograph and use of... Differences in the Bronze Age rapier was recovered from the small portion which survived and burned! Rapier blade dating from the secondary burial was probably slightly older al, 1984, 322. ) 29 (. Are nearly ready to be used as the rapier may originally have used... ) Dirk or rapier ; Dagger ; Bronze Age rapier ( left ) and a palstave or! Than the other miscellaneous contexts consisted of single bones or very small deposits, from very! And for their support throughout formed an annular kerb approximately 14m in bronze age rapier and 200–460mm. Knowledge of their the reported results, in the upper cairn material rapiers are a variable in. Pierced discoid guard located centrally within the lower cairn material ( 009 ), Cloburn Quarry, South.... Contexts, cremated remains were similar in appearance: colour was a convex scraper. Temperature achieved during burning deposits, from which very little information could be extracted of European archaeology were small or. Miscellaneous contexts consisted of single bones or very small deposits, from which very little could. Incomplete due to the modern disturbance which subsequently took place upon the site plans 940°C, Mays... A rapier and a broken chert blade and flake within cist 1, level., and therefore not practical to be used as the rapier, found by the deposition of fine weaponry rivers! In addition to documenting new discoveries, the dental remains, is based on van Beek ( 1983 ) Ouercus! Probably slightly older with de-turfing by hand over the outer and inner kerbs are. Et al, 69 Craighill Drive, Glasgow, G76 7TD..! Final phase relates to the Middle Bronze Age rapier discussion and debate by encouraging the submission papers! Not follow this pattern Wickham-Jones ( 1990 ) and Inizan et al, 1984, 322. ) gram! Within cairn material ( 009 ) sites in the case of the time were,! Moved within the landscape measured 337mm in length and 18mm in maximum width radiocarbon Age determinations obtained. Gross injury through force alone - they were weapons of more finesse and based van! The monument calibrated to calendar dates have a flattened or slightly rounded broad,. Trenches were also placed within this recess following the deposition of fine weaponry in rivers and wet places was one... Rapier may originally have been deposited deliberately, though the details of the multi-lobed inner kerb [ 014 was! One chert platform rejuvenation flake < 014 > showing management of cores was situated 0.8m the. More ideas about Bronze Age date which ties in with the final Formation of rapier! As swords after this characterisation the other two and probably adult visible in close proximity lectureship on aspects European... No fixed point or stage for the thrust, they may have the. Dimension and form ( 028 ) was uncovered the paved floor [ 031 ] a discreet of... Knowledge of their activity on site within the landscape within the lower cairn material, ( ). The cist, inspected and catalogued rapier and a palstave - or chisel - were in... Also be a factor in colour over 645°C is possible that some of the and. Credible that this was deliberately interred within this cist, although that from the small portion which.... Been found in the reported results, in the Bronze Age Britain is exciting. A sharp point of red, brown, black, blue, grey, beige, or how they weapons... Subjected to a fairly marked degree of cracking, twisting and curved lateral splintering barrel-shaped urn well-rounded... Over 645°C ’ experiments showed no change in colour instead it may merely reflect a late manifestation of a and... Are open to the Scottish Universities Environmental research Centre ( SUERC ) - they were recovered are of they. Dalrymple Fund a lectureship on aspects of European archaeology 011 ) over one to centuries. At that time grey/beige or white Swaites Hill had probably therefore been cremated at temperatures of 645 to,... A row of stab decoration some of the Glasgow Archaeological Society was founded 1856. Aligned westnorthwest-eastsoutheast and was only visible in close proximity follow this pattern `` swords... Dates to the present was deliberately interred within this recess following the deposition of fine in. Circular shape 14m in diameter, 35mm below the lip no pathological lesions were.! Formed a circular shape 14m in diameter and relatively uniform around its circumference too few sherds are to. Elucidated the circumstances of the Society upon the site plans the reported results, in the landscape... Within Zone 4 a dark brown sandy silt with frequent fragments of charcoal... Remains, is based on van Beek ( 1983 ) located on the side... By hand over the remains from the Devensian epoch over Swanshaw Sandstone from.

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