NMGW-487432: Bronze Age blade: possibly a dirk of Group IV

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Unique ID: NMGW-487432

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

Middle Bronze Age bronze blade, possibly a dirk of Group IV blade with a damaged butt.

The dirk is incomplete with some peripheral damage to the butt (with a length of 124.3mm and a weight of 29.3g). The shoulders are eroded but appear to have been comparatively broad (with a surviving width of 48.2mm) and is better preserved on one side. The original form of the hilt is now uncertain although it may have been of trapezoidal form with differential corrosion to the apex of the butt, which now has convergent sides. There are no definite rivet holes evident but there is a notch at the central apex, which may have aided the hafting or attachment. The butt is thinned (with a thickness at the apex of 0.6mm) and may have been reworked. Below the shoulders, the sides are concave and convergent (for approximately 26mm). The blade is then near straight and convergent (for approximately 17mm with a width of 26-18mm) after which, the blade is straight and only slightly convergent before the tip. The blade is of lozenge section and gradually thickens to reach a maximum near the tip (of 4.1mm). The blade edge has been lost and is now rounded. The surface is heavily-pitted and corroded with a dark-brown to black patina and with an area of pale-green corrosion. There is no surviving evidence for a hilt mark on the surface

The corrosion makes it difficult to confidently identify the blade typologically with the scheme as outlined by Burgess and Gerloff (1981) but would seem to best fit the Group IV weapons with damaged or reworked butts. Group IV blades belong to Taunton to Penard Metalworking industry of the Middle Bronze Age, corresponding with Needham's (1996) Period 5, dated to 1500 - 1150BC.

1. Burgess C.B. & Gerloff S., 1981; The Dirks and Rapiers of Great Britain and Ireland, Praähistorische Bronzefunde Abteilung IV. Band 7.
2. Needham, S. 1996; Chronology and Periodisation in the British Bronze Age, Acta Archaeologica 67, p. 121-140

Class: blade, possibly a dirk of Group IV

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


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 1150 BC

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 124.3 mm
Width: 48.2 mm
Weight: 29.3 g

Personal details

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

Other reference numbers

Other reference: NMWPA 2014.108.10

Materials and construction

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

Spatial metadata

Region: Wales (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Swansea (Unitary Authority)
District: Swansea (Unitary Authority)
Parish or ward: Sketty (Community)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SS6391
Four figure Latitude: 51.60112942
Four figure longitude: -3.97950933
1:25K map: SS6391
1:10K map: SS69SW
Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: NMGW
Created: 4 years ago
Updated: About one year ago

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