NMGW-B31642: Late Bronze Age socketed tool, probably a hammer

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Unique ID: NMGW-B31642

Object type certainty: Probably
Workflow status: Published Find published

Late Bronze Age socketed tool, probably a hammer, probably of Late Bronze Age date c. 1000-700BC.

The tool is incomplete missing the mouth (with a length of 65.5mm and a weight of 101.1g) and has broken in antiquity. At the break, the socket mouth is of oval form (with an internal dimensions of 12.4mm x 11.1mm and with a surviving depth of 28.9mm). The tool is thicker on the more complete side (with a thickness of 3.6mm compared to 1.7mm). Each side had at least two linear stepped mouldings along its length (with a depth of up to 2.5mm). The sides are convergent, with the stepped mouldings retaining a fairly consistent width (with a width before the top step of 18mm, a width at the top step of 19.7mm, a width before the basal step of 17.1mm and a width at the basal step of 22.3mm). The sides are straight and near-parallel at the basal section (24.8mm long with a width and thickness at the platform of 23.3mm and 14.0mm respectively). The casting seams are clearly evident and slightly raised on both sides and are significantly off-centre along its thickness. Both faces are flat across their lengths and slightly convergent to the platform (with a thickness at the break of 15.9mm) but have a gentle convexity across their widths. There is no decoration surviving on either face. The platform is sub-rectangular (22.4mm x 13.3mm) and is convex with no discernible evidence of significant battering scars. The surface is worn with a dark-brown patina and areas of mid-to-dark-green corrosion. The faces have a few scratches preserved beneath the patina.


Bronze Age socketed hammers are not frequently reported, with 26 examples reported to PAS at the time of writing. The stepped sides of this example are difficult to parallel. Fregni (2014, 81ff.) has recently presented a typology of socketed hammers and this example falls within her Type 4 categorised by a slanted face, shoulders, a square or round cross section and generally smaller size than other hammers. Only one other Type 4 has so far been identified in England and Wales, which is from the large multi-period Salisbury hoard, Wiltshire. This hoard also contained three other types of socketed hammer. Due to the eclectic nature of the Salisbury hoard, which contains objects from the Early Bronze Age through to the Middle Iron Age, it is difficult to accurately date this type of hammer.

However, two similar shouldered hammers are present in Dowris phase hoards in Ireland. One was found in the Dowris hoard itself (Eogan 1983, No.119 (78)) and another in the Lusmagh hoard (Eogan 1983, No.22 (1). These hoards equate to the Ewart Park phase in England and Wales (c.950-750 BC), suggesting this as the most likely date for the Pembrokeshire hammer. However, none of these examples have a double-shoulder.

Four other hammers are recorded from Wales at present, two from North Wales; one from the Bronze Age occupation soil behind the rampart of the hillfort at the Breiddin (D.G. Coombs 1991 in Musson ed., mo. 139, 3 133-4) , the Breiddin hammer is of sub-quadrangular form and is expanded at the working platform, and an unpublished example from Burton, Wrexham (Gwilt pers. comm.) and is more rounded in form. Two quadrangular hammers from Wales have been recorded with PAS recently, a fragmentary example from Swansea (NMGW-46A3A3) and a more complete example from Brecon (NMGW-475C27). Hammers often have a higher tin content in the bronze (Coombs ibid.; Evans; 1881 ) compared to contemporary axes. It has not been possible to analyse this example quantitatively but X-ray fluorescence surface analysis has indicated a leaded bronze with trace levels of arsenic and silver (Mary Davis pers. Comm. (XRF 998)).

Find of note status

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

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod from: Late
Period from: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod to: Late
Period to: BRONZE AGE
Date from: Circa 950 BC
Date to: Circa 750 BC

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 65.5 mm
Weight: 101.1 g

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Miss Wenke Domscheit
Identified by: Mr Mark Lodwick
Secondary identifier: Mr Matthew Knight

Other reference numbers

Other reference: NMWPA 2014.100

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

County or Unitary authority: Pembrokeshire (Unitary Authority)

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: NMGW
Created: 4 years ago
Updated: 9 months ago

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