In addition to books, recent volumes of the journal have reviewed new museums, exhibitions and research on Scotland published in periodical literature. There are no dates for the Sketewan urns. AD) was obtained from the charcoal. The Bronze Age rapier was recovered from a spread of redeposited cairn material (009). The exterior surface and the interior of the rim bevel are slipped and decorated. Just as the colour of cremated remains can signify the temperatures reached during the burning process, variations in the colour of bone fragments can give an indication of uneven burning of the body. Another example is provided by Olcote Cairn on Lewis, an 8m diameter kerbed cairn that contained within its fabric an earlier kerb, 6.5m in diameter (Curtis & Curtis 1995, Neighbour 1996). Below the collar the exterior surface is decorated with approximately vertical lines which sometimes intersect. Colour change is thought to relate to decomposition of the organic component (Shipman et al, 1984, 322.). Rapier / Dirk; Dirk or Rapier; Dirk or Dagger; Dagger; Rapier/dirk; Dirk or Dagger. Both individuals from Cist 1 were of similar adolescent age, although that from the secondary burial was probably slightly older. They are most likely a natural phenomenon. Vessel 2 may have been a bucket or barrel-shaped urn. The dimensions are comparable (Length: 337mm; Blade Width: 24mm), bearing in mind that the Isleham example is largely complete and well preserved. Bronze Age Flat Axe Head ... Related products. This type of complexity and phasing with regards to earlier activities was also seen in the nearby, now-quarried Cairngryffe Hill ring-cairn, where internal rings of stone kerbs or postholes demarcated different areas beneath the cairn material (Lelong & Pollard 1998a). Whether this was originally only a token deposit, or that some of the original deposit was lost during the deposition of the secondary burial, is unclear. It was generally about 110mm in depth but reached 500mm deep in places. There is also a hint, however, that its final shape resulted from the sequential construction of a series of smaller kerbed compartments which were eventually restructured into a single, final, inner kerb, with – presumably – parts of these smaller kerbed compartments removed in the process. The primary burial in Cist 1 was incomplete, as was the third, disturbed cremation from the cairn. New here? The rapier sword was found locally near a site which had been inhabited for a period of at least 5,000 years, dating back from the Neolithic period to the present day. Bronze Age Knife £ 625.00. The recovery of the remains of another urn, additional cremated human bone deposits and a Middle Bronze Age rapier within the upper cairn and re-deposited cairn material hints at even greater complexity. This extension of the cairn through the addition of an outer kerb can be observed in other Bronze Age cairns such as Cairnwell in Aberdeenshire where an outer kerb was constructed to incorporate an earlier stone circle into the monument (Rees 1997). Bronze Age Britain is an era of British history that spanned from c. 2500 until c. 800 BC. This would suggest that all of the funerary activity located beneath the upper cairn material took place over one to two centuries. The cremated bone gave a radiocarbon date of 3695 ± 30BP (cal BC 2147–2016 at 2 Sigma, SUERC- 71902 (GU43368)). Both included quantities of wood charcoal, derived from alder, and with the level of charcoal much higher in (027) than in (033). It is credible that this was deliberately interred within this cist, although the knife would have been broken at that time. The longest and thinnest of these weapons fall into a sub-group called Type Lissane, an although these fine weapons are often used to exemplify the weapon type, they are much less robust than the majority of weapons. On the paved floor [031] a discreet deposit of oak charcoal (Ouercus sp.) Three of the blades had been retouched, all having lost one or both of the proximal and distal ends. Around the cairn, and indeed in the general landscape, many large boulders were present. The assemblage was dominated by quartz (160 lithics) that were small chunks or gravel-sized pieces. The Swaites Hill urn has close parallels with two urns from Sketewan, Perth and Kinross (Burgess 1997, 305–9) which have the same panelled design on the collar although it was executed in lines of impressed twisted cord rather than incisions. Our knife is from the latter group – an adhering or cortex-like material on the dorsal surface may have been a consequence of hafting, but this is highly speculative. Its modern origins were inferred from the fact that its character differed markedly from the parent cairn material: the deposit was only moderately compacted, with no regular pattern of deposition evident amongst the stone component and residual lenses of topsoil (001) occurring on a regular basis. Cist 2 [016] was situated 0.8m to the southeast of cist [015]. The destruction and removal of stone may represent stone-robbing, or it could have been caused by treasure-hunting by antiquarians sometime during the 19th century. This site uses cookies. found that the lightest colours occurred with temperatures of 645 to 940°C, while Mays’ experiments showed no change in colour over 645°C. Sherds from two Bronze Age urns – a collared urn and an urn of undetermined type – were recovered from the excavations at Swaites Hill. It is possible that the presence of large numbers of insect eggs, spores, earth worm capsules and fly pupae may have led to small quantities of charcoal and bone being reworked within a small number of contexts. The exterior of the collar is decorated with alternating bands of vertical and horizontal lines (<29>, <26.2> and <26.3>). The earliest of the rapiers had a complex cross-section consisting of ribs and grooves, with clear ancestry in the dagger series which had begun in the Early Bronze Age. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. Code: AA268. Cist 1 [015] was aligned westnorthwest-eastsoutheast and was rectangular in plan, measuring 1.1m by 0.7m and 0.5m in depth. The portion of [014] that survived in Zone 3 was formed by large stones with additional flat stones leaning against the outside face of the kerb. The edges could be used to lacerate flesh and muscle, potentially disabling limbs, but as the blades were relatively light, they would not make use of percussive force, and hence not jar the hilt too much when cutting. The decoration is also comparable: both objects have five flanking grooves on either side of the midrib, which increases to seven towards the tip, and the midrib is very broad and flat towards the butt, with the flanking grooves terminating outwith, as opposed to beneath, the rivet holes. It consisted of sub-angular and sub-rounded stones in a mid-grey-orange slightly clay sand matrix, had a maximum thickness of 0.2m and was distinguished by its firmer compaction compared with (011). Register for a new account. The Middle Bronze Age rapier would have been a later, 16th to 15th century BC, addition to the site, perhaps deposited within a recess on the outside face of the outer kerb (potentially built into the kerb in order to receive it) or within a pit or cist sunk into the upper cairn material. A rare find of a bronze age rapier sword blade, approximately 3,500 years old, was donated to Torquay Museum by two members of the Newton Abbot and District Metal Detecting Club. The Glasgow Archaeological Society was founded in 1856 to promote the study of archaeology with a special emphasis on western Scotland. Similar practices may have occurred at Broomlands, Kelso where two cist burials, with original inhumations of Early Bronze Age date (though separated by at least a century), had a Late Bronze Age inhumation subsequently inserted (McLaren & Wilson 2013–2014). It was oriented northnortheast-southsouthwest and sub-rectangular in plan, measuring 1.2m by 0.6m and up to 0.5m in depth with several flat stones making up its sides. However, the full picture must sadly remain incomplete due to the modern disturbance which subsequently took place upon the site. There are further archaeological sites in the vicinity; the majority are cairns but cairnfields and short cists have also been identified. Forgotten your password? A date for this development sometime in the later 17th early 16th century BC appears most likely, but there is no clear dividing line between daggers, dirks and rapiers. To the immediate northwest of the re-deposited cairn material in Zones 1 and 2 was a low-lying bank of material aligned from east-northeast to west-southwest. Fig 7 Rapier of Burgess and Gerloff's Group 1 Type. See more ideas about Bronze age, Bronze, Ancient weapons. In some regards there is an impasse in searching for where they were used, but there is considerable importance in how they could be used, and the great quality of the surviving artefacts and accurate replicas can make help us to better understand this. The discovery of a Middle Bronze Age rapier within re-deposited cairn material hints at even more complexity; however, the full picture was sadly obscured by eighteenth to nineteenth century disturbance. More recent experiments by Walker et al. All potential struck lithics were cleaned, inspected and catalogued. A radiocarbon date of 190 ± 29 BP (1728–1812 cal. 19 bulk samples were submitted for processing from the excavation undertaken at Swaites Hill. On excavation, however, they proved to be resting on top of, or within, topsoil (001), suggesting that they were more likely to have be displaced when the mound was slighted. It is likely to belong to the Acton Park 2, Taunton (Cemmaes) or Pennard metalwork assemblage, corresponding to Needham’s (1997) Period 5, c. 1500-1150BC. Selected on quality and durability. The initial construction of the two stone lined cists belongs to this first phase but the contents and two-tiered nature of Cist 1 and the fact that only fragments of cremated bone were found within Cist 2 would suggest that both had remains added or taken away. C O N T E N T S: KEY TOPICS. Published in Scottish Archaeological Journal 42. Within Zone 4 a dark orange-brown clay-silt deposit, (033), was recorded under and between some of the stones. Four of the group had been recovered in Scotland prior to 2015: two from Dumfries and Galloway (Lower Nunton and Glentrool), and two from Perthshire (Pitcaithly and Friarton). The removal of topsoil revealed an exposed spread of stone which gave the appearance of a large sub-circular cairn measuring 22m in diameter (Fig 4). Possible Rapier (Fragment) Dirk or Rapier; Dagger; Bronze Age Blade Tip; Dirk/Rapier; Rapier. Neither cist had retained its capstone, and both were identified as sediment-filled voids, with the surviving side stones and flooring set in cuts into the underlying subsoil (002) (Fig 6). All three are nearly ready to be hilted, with the Ci leading the gang (it's already 90% polished.) Shipman et al. Barry Molloy. Rapier in this context is an archaeological term for a relatively short, narrow, double-sided blade that emerged in the Middle Bronze Age and represents Ireland’s earliest type of bronze sword (rather than a dagger). These included a Middle Bronze Age rapier used between 1300 and 1150 BC and one Carp's Tongue sword popular between 950 and 800 BC. Between 2013 and 2015, Rathmell Archaeology Ltd carried out archaeological works on behalf of Cloburn Quarry Company Ltd in advance of a quarry extension. Very occasional flecks of alder charcoal (Alnus glutinosa L.) were present, from which a radiocarbon date of 3753 ± 29BP (cal BC 2232–2120 at 2 Sigma, SUERC-71906 (GU 43373)) was obtained. It comprised a single intermittent course of large sub-angular and sub-rounded stones, each measuring up to 600mm by 350mm in extent, which together formed a multi-lobed shape 9–10m in plan. The dates place the activity on site within the early Bronze Age with later, 19th century, disturbance. In this respect, the Swaites Hill rapier is an exciting and exceptional find. Sold. The size of the cremation deposit of the secondary burial in Cist 1, as well as the completeness of the remains, suggest that they were carefully collected. Wells found that black colouring occurs with temperatures of less than 800°C, while temperatures above 800°C produced calcined bone, which ranged in colour from bluish-grey to white. The evaluation confirmed the suspected clearance cairns to be exactly that; their age could not, however, be ascertained. This may indicate that the kerbs and associated cairn fabric provided a visible – and potentially also a physical - demarcation between the funerary and ritual activity taking place at the centre of the cairn and the world beyond. These formed an annular kerb approximately 14m in diameter and relatively uniform around its circumference. In addition to documenting new discoveries, the journal promotes scholarly discussion and debate by encouraging the submission of papers of synthesis and analysis. Six radiocarbon age determinations were obtained from samples of charred plant material and cremated bone. The edges are bevelled, and it seems most probable that they underwent cycles of cold-working and annealing to increase their hardness and durability. It was, however, incomplete, with much of the butt and the blade tip missing. The classification of plano-convex knives in Scotland suggests two main forms: one where one or two edges are retouched while the balance of the blank remains unaltered, and the second where the whole dorsal surface is worked (slug knives). Once the burning process is completed and the remains have cooled, they then have to be collected from the pyre site before deposition in the place of burial. The underlying subsoil (numbered variously (002) surrounding the cairn, and (026) within the cairn), was a mid-orange, silty clay with frequent small to medium sized stones and occasional grey sandstone/red granite bedrock/fragments. In general, the evolution of blade weapons in the Bronze Age is from the dagger or knife in the Early Bronze Age to the earliest narrow bladed "rapier" swords optimized for thrusting from the Middle Bronze Age to the typical leaf-shape blades in the Late Bronze Age. Bronze Age Palstave Axe Head £ 275.00. Of particular note is the recess in Zone 1 which lay close to where the Bronze Age rapier was found amongst re-deposited cairn material (009) (see Phases 4 & 5 below). More problematic to explain is that of the primary burial in Cist 1. By positioning the cairn slightly off the summit, views would have been partially obscured from the north, but it would have been visible from the south and southeast. Charcoal was present in all 19 samples, though very fragmentary in eight, with material suitable for species identification only present in 11 (Table 2). Comparable reuse of earlier monuments can be seen in the nearby large ritual enclosure at Blackshouse Burn, where Bronze Age cist burials with associated urns and cremated bone were reportedly recovered by 18th century stone robbers (Ferguson 1794). (2008) indicated that at less than 200°C: there was a gradual darkening in colour, at 300°C there was a shift to black, above 300°C colour changed from black to tan to grey, with the lightest colour occurring between 800°C to 1000°C. Archaeological literature refers to these as 'dirks' and 'rapiers', but despite the inherent inferences these names make with regard to use, they should truly be regarded as swords, and the progenitors of the lineage which continued through the many ages of man which were to follow. Archaeological investigations have demonstrated a Neolithic origin for the enclosure at Blackhouse Burn with later re-use in the Bronze Age. Now all we can say is that the rapier was associated in some way with the burial mound, and placed here deliberately, perhaps in an act of commemoration or veneration. This was followed by an archaeological evaluation in April 2015 (Gordon 2015): this comprised an 8% evaluation of the ground and the targeted investigation of several probable clearance cairns. Stone moulds for a Middle Bronze Age rapier (left) and a spearhead (right). In the case of the latter, interpreted as disturbed, it is possible that some of the original deposit has been lost. This led to the re-deposition of cairn material (009) out towards the edge of the monument. The excavation formed the culmination of a series of works which began with a Historic Environment Appraisal (Rees and Turner 2013), which identified three historic environment assets within the area of the quarry extension. The samples were submitted to the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC). The thickness was much less (0–50mm) over the outer and inner kerbs. Both cists also contained lithic material, possibly waste: this included chert and flint chunks, outnumbered by small chunks of quartz and quartz gravel. The fabric is fine sandy clay with roughly 60% of angular rock fragments, some up to 13mm, which has fired hard and is grey with a brown exterior surface. The former is known to have occurred in the area (Ferguson 1794) when the digging out of large stones for building material was recorded from a large enclosure, most likely the Blackshouse Burn enclosure 900m to the south. Incredibly, they were both placed in the water as gifts to the gods. There was also a small amount of cremated human bone (see below) recovered, perhaps representing part of a burial, subsequently destroyed through later disturbance. Code: LA362. It is uncertain whether they evolved first in Britain or Ireland, but the accident of survival / differential archaeological preservation makes it too difficult to be in any way dogmatic about the point of origin. The Swaites Hill rapier adds a fifth example to the known corpus, forming an extension to the southwest concentration formed by the Dumfries and Galloway finds and a link with the two Perthshire finds to the north-east (see Turner, forthcoming, for a more detailed discussion of the Swaites Hill find in the wider context of rapier deposition). Both sites are within easy walking distance of Swaites Hill, and similar stone-robbing or investigation can easily be envisaged at the Swaites Hill cairn. One flint regular flake <10> recovered from topsoil was a convex end scraper. Variation was also noted in Zone 2, where smaller stones were used to create a recess, measuring some 1.15m by 0.55m in plan, in the outer side of the kerb's circumference. The deposit was irregular in plan, measuring up to 0.85m in length by 0.65m in width and up to 250mm in depth. The underside of the bottom edge of the collar is defined by a row of stab decoration. Moulds of stone or clay would be encased in a thick layer of coarse clay to aid in heat retention so that the mould did not cool too quickly, as the thermal shock can cause internal flaws in the weapon, if not macro-damage in the form of fractures. Stay signed in. While the contexts within which these were recovered are of note they were excluded from further analytical work after this characterisation. The floor consisted of a paved surface [031], formed from sub-angular flat stones between 80–460mm in length and less than 30mm thick. The surrounding area has abundant prehistoric archaeology (Fig 2), with three scheduled monuments located within 2km of the site: these include the enclosures at Blackhouse Burn (1) (Canmore ID 47640) and Meadowflatt (2) (Canmore ID: 47641); and the fort at Chester Hill (3) (Canmore ID: 47463). Cast cu-alloy rapier blade dating from the Middle Bronze Age, ca. Scottish Archaeological Journal is abstracted and indexed in the following: Excavation of two burnt mounds and a wooden trough near Ryeriggs, Fochabers, MorayGary Savory During the Bronze Age, many people crossed the sea from mainland Europe to Britain. The other miscellaneous contexts consisted of single bones or very small deposits, from which very little information could be extracted. Its displacement sadly removed any chance we may have had at establishing its chronological and spatial relationship with cairn and burials; it may, for example, have accompanied a cist or burial incorporated into the upper cairn material and subsequently destroyed. The identification of, and assessment of age from, the dental remains, is based on van Beek (1983). Three other finds by metal detectorists … The outer kerb [012] was of fairly uniform construction with, unlike most kerb cairns, both an outer and inner face. Sold. With the introduction of copper, and eventually bronze, daggers could be made longer, and evolved into swords.The evolution of the dagger into the sword is thus gradual, and in 2004 the first "swords" have been claimed for the Early Bronze Age (c. 33rd to 31st centuries), based on finds at Arslantepe, weapo… The cremation burials from Swaites Hill consisted of two cremations in Cist 1 (a primary and secondary), and a third disturbed cremation from the cairn. Variable Group in terms of dimension and form lower cairn material took place one... Slight differences in the reported results, in the reported results, in water. Were placed above and slightly overhanging, in this respect, the Journal have reviewed new museums, exhibitions research! Preservation was good, making them suitable for radiocarbon dating ) that were small or. 3 and have been found in association with collared urns, while Mays experiments... Material suggests a Bronze Age date which ties in with the Ci leading gang. 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