Return to search

The bronze swords of Ireland

The leaf shaped bronze sword is one of the most distinctive and evocative weapons of prehistory. The type appears throughout Western Europe in the final centuries of the second millennium BC only to disappear as an artefact type with the widespread introduction of iron weapons hundreds of years later. The widespread distribution of the bronze sword points to the increasingly martial nature of Late Bronze Age society, a feature echoed in Ireland by the appearance of defensive landscape features. The expansion and development of Irish archaeology in the last fifteen years has rather left metalwork and swords, in particular, behind, as the main focus has moved away from artefacts towards settlement. It is only in recent years that interest has revived in the Bronze Age and bronze metalwork. Over six hundred swords have been recovered from Ireland, the vast majority being nineteenth century finds. Most belong to the equivalent of the Ewart Park type in Britain – but there are significant numbers of early flange hilted weapons and of the late Gundlingen type. This thesis represents the first major study of the development and context of the Irish swords since George Eogan’s work (Eogan 1964). It examines, in addition to those weapons listed in Eogan’s catalogue, all of the more recent discoveries, and takes as the central theme the biography or life cycle of a sword, from manufacture through to use and deposition, with the emphasis on the latter. The thesis represents a companion to the comprehensive analysis and catalogue of Bronze Age swords in Britain, co- authored by myself and Colin Burgess (Colquhoun and Burgess 1988). Following the death of Ian Colquhoun on 7th June 2013, the thesis was compiled, formatted and submitted posthumously by his supervisors – Dr Benjamin Roberts and Dr Tom Moore.
Date January 2015
CreatorsColquhoun, Ian
PublisherDurham University
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

Page generated in 0.0067 seconds