NMS-C7EEF3: Middle Bronze Age ceremonial Dirk

Rights Holder: Norfolk County Council
CC License:

Rights Holder: Norfolk County Council
CC License:

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Unique ID: NMS-C7EEF3

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

Middle Bronze Age ceremonial dirk, the second recorded from Norfolk. The first was recovered from Oxborough in 1988 found point down in peaty deposits (Needham 1990; Collins 2013, 52).

The landowner was said to have observed the second dirk being ploughed up, it then remained in the farm office for some years, occasionally being used to prop the door open. It was suggested that the object could be old and was then bought to Gressenhall for identification, causing more than a little surprise to the FLO and other staff of the finds department.

Previous writers have indicated the dirk was bent in antiquity, though the present writer has observed the patination is broken along the bends, with bare metal visible within the fissures, therefore it is unlikely the bends are of any great age.

Remarkably, the provenances of the four other known examples of this spectacular type all lie in continental Europe, Plougrescant in Brittany, Beaune in Burgundy, and Ommerschans and Jutphaas in the Netherlands. All six are very similar, though there are slight differences in the elaboration of cross-sections and lengths and may well be produced in one workshop and distributed to fulfill their ceremonial duties. All lack rivet holes for the attachment of handles, and have intentionally blunt edges, but they are well finished in other respects.

See Rogerson and Ashley, Norfolk Archaeology XLVII (2014), 104-106.

Length (straightened) 685mm. Maximum width (straightened) 175mm. Thickness 8mm. Weight 1.916kg.

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: National importance

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: Norfolk Museums Service Norwich Castle Museum
Subsequent action after recording: Acquired by a museum - not a Treasure case


Broad period: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod from: Middle
Period from: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod to: Middle
Period to: BRONZE AGE
Date from: Circa 1500 BC
Date to: Circa 1350 BC

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 685 mm
Width: 175 mm
Thickness: 8 mm
Weight: 1916 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Wednesday 1st January 2003 - Wednesday 31st December 2003

Personal details

Recorded by: Mrs Erica Darch
Identified by: Mrs Erica Darch
Secondary identifier: Mr Jason Gibbons

Other reference numbers

SMR reference number: 58407
Other reference: IND19032013ED
Museum accession number: 2014.101

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Norfolk (County)
District: King's Lynn and West Norfolk (District)
To be known as: East Rudham

Spatial coordinates

Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Agricultural or drainage work
Current location: Norfolk Museums Service Norwich Castle Museum

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: NMS
Created: 6 years ago
Updated: About one year ago

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