KENT-68BED7: Fragment of huge Bronze Age spear

Rights Holder: Kent County Council
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Unique ID: KENT-68BED7

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A fragment of cast copper-alloy spearhead, likely dating to the Middle Bronze Age (III) or Late Bronze Age - likely from the Wilburton, Blackmoor / Ewart Park phases. c.1200-750 BC.

Description: The fragment represents most of the spear's upper section and is missing only part of the point. It is long, tapering and narrowing, with a very high angular midrib flanked by moulded channels. The fragment is very warped and bent, typical of intentional 'killed' bronze age objects, leaving it almost S-shaped in profile. On one side of the edge there is another possible intentional bend. The break at the point and towards the butt end are both jagged but worn and patinated. At the butt end break it is shown to be hollow indicating it would have been socketed. The fragment is patinated a dark brown colour with very sparse tiny green speckles. There is a red concretion in parts of the moulded midrib channel.

Measurements: 95.96mm long, 20.35mm wide (at widest remaining), 9.86mm thick (at thickest remaining point) and 33.23g in weight.

Discussion: Peter Reevil (FLO Herefordshire & Shropshire) comments 'Most Bronze Age spearheads are classified by blade shape or socket arrangements - so without those [there will be some uncertainty in classifying this example]. The blade is very large - given that this is just the upper part - so [dating cannot be narrowed further] than very late MBA (III) or LBA - Wilburton, Blackmoor / Ewart Park. so 1200-750. The blade though is very narrow and has a high mid-rib as well as raised flanking mouldings so would guess it is either a Davis Group 9 (11000 -975) Group 16 Lunate blade opening (1100- 800) or a Group 17 channelled blade (950-750). [It is likely that this fragment represents] the top 1/3 of the spearhead, [so when complete would have been a] massive one.

Matt Knight (pers. comms.) from National Museum Scotland has pointed out that the deformation of this object is certainly intentional and occurred when the object was heated, becoming plastic and then struck with a hammer causing some breakage but also the aforementioned deformation. This heated damage also explains why the breaks are not as jagged as one would expect from a cold break.

Find of note status

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

Class: Spearhead

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod from: Middle
Period from: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod to: Late
Period to: BRONZE AGE
Date from: Circa 1200 BC
Date to: Circa 750 BC

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 95.96 mm
Width: 20.35 mm
Thickness: 9.86 mm
Weight: 33.23 g

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Jo Ahmet
Identified by: Mr Jo Ahmet
Secondary identifier: Mr Peter Reavill

Materials and construction

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

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Essex (County)
District: Braintree (District)
Parish or ward: Great Yeldham (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: TL7439
Four figure Latitude: 52.0221296
Four figure longitude: 0.53454026
1:25K map: TL7439
1:10K map: TL73NW
Grid reference source: Generated from computer mapping software
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: KENT
Created: 8 months ago
Updated: 8 months ago

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