- Museum number
Copper alloy sword-sheath or scabbard without a sword. It is slightly bent in the upper part, though it has an excellent patina. It tapers only very slightly to a rounded tip. The back plate overlaps the front with grooves round the edges of both plates, and continuing round the tip, which is slightly thickened (7mm deep and 5.5 mm thick at the centre).
The upper part of the front plate is decorated with compass-incised circles, punched dots and arcs, quite lightly defined and in part covered by the mouth guard and upper ferrule. The mouth is framed by a cast guard, 53 mm wide, moulded with 'duck heads' at the sides, a central roundel at the front and a central pendant device leading to the upper loop at the back. A hole in the back of the mouth guard holds what looks like a part of a rivet, but there is no corresponding hole in the back plate of the scabbard. On the front plate, under the mouth guard on the right, a layer of solder (?) has become detached.
The suspension loop, ferrules and abbreviated loop plates are cast in one piece; the ferrules are decorated with roundels on the front (flat roundels not designed for applied ornament). The loop is rectangular (31mm wide and 25mm deep) and about 5mm above the level of the scabbard on the inside. The upper loop plate, which terminates at a broad straight edge opposite the matching projection from the mouth guard, has been secured by a rivet with a crude head that has now pulled away from the back plate of the scabbard to a point clearly marked in the patina, and it will still move down to that point quite easily (about 20mm below its correct position). The short lower loop plate terminates at a broken edge, and has no surviving rivet or rivet hole. Instead, it laps the top of the long, grooved spine that extends for almost the length of the scabbard, terminating in a splayed end with simple cross-hatched decoration. Beyond the slayed end is what seems to be a punched dot. The terminal of the spine has been attached by a rivet with crude head, but the rest of it was apparently soldered.
The scabbard has been crudely mended by the addition of a broad strip down each edge. The strips are uneven in length (540 and 680mm) and have been soldered (onto) the back plate and wrapped round the front. They are excessively wide on the reverse (15 and 13mm, respectively). The upper part of the spine is considerably worn for 130mm or so below the lower ferrule: for most of this length the grooves have worn away. Between 405 and 550mm from the top, the back of the scabbard has been worn and scored by something that has swung across it regularly when in use, creating arcs with centres roughly 440 and 500mm from the top.
- Production date
- 120 BC - AD 43 (circa)
Length: 770 millimetres
Weight: 645 grammes
Thickness: 17.10 millimetres (max, including suspension loop)
Width: 47.90 millimetres (top)
- Curator's comments
- La Tène III swords were designed for slashing rather than thrusting. They were very long, broad and flat with rounded ends. The chape of the scabbard was barely distinguishable from the metal binding.
- On display (G50/dc10)
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number