DENO-6BE71D: Iron Age to early medieval spearhead

Rights Holder: Derby Museums Trust
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Unique ID: DENO-6BE71D

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

An iron Iron Age, Roman or early medieval spearhead (c. 500 BC - AD c. 1000). The spearhead has a conical socket. At the apex the socket becomes a long midrib running the entire length of the blade. The blade is broadly kite-shaped. From the socket the first quarter of the blade expands with straight edges. It then tapers gradually with concave edges for the next two quarters of its length. It then tapers more abruptly with straight edges for the last quarter of its length to the tip. Overall, it measures 282 mm long, 49.1 mm wide and 25.3 mm thick. The socket has an external diameter of 25.3 mm and an internal diameter of 19.0 mm. The spearhead weighs 248.1 g.

The spearhead is similar to an example in the British Museum's collection (BM 1856,0719.2) from the Thames, thought to be either Iron Age or early medieval in date.

Dr Julia Farley (Curator, European Iron Age Collections at the British Museum) says that spearheads from the Iron Age are normally more curvy, but this does not preclude this example from being of that date.

Dr Eleanor Ghey (Curator of Iron Age and Roman Republican Coinage at the British Museum) says that Roman spears are normally less curvy, especially in the middle of the blade, and the sockets are longer, although they can vary. She suggests a Roman Republican date or a very late Roman date.

Dr Sue Brunning (Curator, European Early Medieval & Sutton Hoo Collections at the British Museum) says "typical Anglo-Saxon spearheads are almond- or lozenge-shaped in blade cross-section, with some odd zig-zag ones. Some midribbed spears have been found in Anglo-Saxon contexts and are classified by Swanton (1973) as Type B2." Swanton thinks these are early and compares them to ones found in Nydam in Denmark, but there are issues with spearhead typology and Swanton's typology is out of date. However, midribbed spearheads are omitted from Bayliss and Hines (2013) burial chronology. This suggests an early date for the spearhead. Dr Brunning therefore points to a possible 4th to 5th century transitional date for this example.

In conclusion, it is currently not possible to date this spearhead to a specific period, although a 4th to 5th century date is possibly more likely.

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: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Period from: IRON AGE
Date from: Circa 500 BC
Date to: Circa AD 1000

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 282 mm
Width: 49.1 mm
Thickness: 25.3 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Sunday 21st May 2017

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Alastair Willis
Identified by: Mr Alastair Willis

Other reference numbers

Other reference: Derby E8524

Materials and construction

Primary material: Iron
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: East Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Derbyshire (County)
District: Derbyshire Dales (District)
Parish or ward: Hopton (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SK2653
Four figure Latitude: 53.07360427
Four figure longitude: -1.61338068
1:25K map: SK2653
1:10K map: SK25SE
Grid reference source: GPS (from the finder)
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Grassland, Heathland

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: DENO
Created: About one year ago
Updated: 10 months ago

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