This lump of Bronze doesn’t look much, but it is in fact part of a rare Bronze age sword handle.
It’s special because the hilt (handle) fragment – the U shaped outer part shown in the image surrounding the blade fragment – would normally have been constructed of an organic material such as wood or bone. In this example the entire hilt has been made of Bronze and wraps around the blade. It even has dummy rivets (see sketch) echoing the way that the organic hilts would have attached, with two halves riveted together.
This type of sword belongs to a small group of British and Continental types which date to the ‘Ewart park’ phase of the late Bronze Age c. 950-800BC. Another example was found recently in the Cherry Burton Hoard from Yorkshire (see YORYM-958D05). The fragment would have formed the hilt of a sword similar to the ‘Witham’ sword (illustration no 751) and others in the British Museum.
This example was found in the Whissendine area and is an extremely rare find for the Midlands. This object has very kindly recently been donated by the finder, Mr Allan Mason, to Rutland County Museum. We are extremely grateful to him for doing so; it may not look much, but objects like this provide important information about objects used in the past. It’s very important that rare objects like this are in public ownership so they are available for engagement and further study.
See the full record here