Example = 1992,0901.1
Date =1200-800 BC
Distribution: Ireland, Somerset, East Anglia and Sussex

Bronze Age anvils come in many different forms. They were most probably used for fine metalworking as they are quite small. Anvils probably remained small due to problems which would have been encountered while trying to cast larger objects. Anvils can be divided into three main categories each category containing a number of different forms. Firstly there are the Simple anvils which have one or sometimes more work surface and a spike for securing the anvil to a work surface. Secondly the Beaked anvils have a beak and one or two work surfaces. Thirdly the Complex anvils have one or more features such as beaks and swages (grooves of V, W or semi-circular cross-section for creating wire).

There is no set chronology for anvils and some of the complex forms are from the Middle Bronze Age and some of the simplest from the Late Bronze Age. Some anvils have a hole through the centre which could have been used for punching holes through metal, holding metal wire in place and creating small repousée circles. Occasionally anvils have cast decoration on one side. They are unlikely to have been as common object in the Bronze Age and are rare finds now.


Ehrenberg, M. (1981). The Anvils of Bronze Age Europe. The Antiquaries Journal LXI. 62, 14-28
O'Connor, B. (1980) Cross Channel Relations in the Later Bronze Age. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports S91