Chapes

Bronze Chapes were placed at the end of a sword or dagger scabbard to prevent the sword from becoming damaged or creating damage. Occasionally they are found with the sword still inside them.

Tongue shaped

There are two types of Tongue shaped chapes the long and the short variety.

Dating and distribution

Date = 1100-800 BC
Distribution = Britain

Examples

SWYOR-4A2F62

1998,0901.152 http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/search_object_details.aspx?objectid=1343335&partid=1

Bag-shaped

It is possible that these 'bag-shaped' chapes developed from short-tongue chapes. These small chapes have a convex base, defined by a bead and a concave mouth, defined by a rib.

Dating and distribution

Date: 900-800 BC
Distribution: mainly in South eastern England and a few from Ireland

Example

HAMP-095061PAS record number: HAMP-095061
Object type: Scabbard
Broadperiod: Bronze Age
County of discovery: Hampshire
Stable url: http://finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/399331

Winged

Winged chapes have one or more wings that protrude either side of the end of the sword. It is possible that these were designed so that a horse rider could steady the end of the sword with their foot and draw the sword with one hand.

Dating and distribution

Date: 800-600 BC
Distribution: Britain

Example

Copper alloy winged chape fragment.

British Museum Registration number: 1998,0901.153

Copper alloy winged chape fragment.

Also: 1875,0401.36

References

  • O'Connor, B. 1980 `Cross-Channel relations in the later Bronze Age: relations between Britain, NE France and the Low Countries during the Later Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age, with particular reference to the metalwork' BAR International Series British Archaeological Reports Oxford S91(i-ii).