- Museum number
- Object: The Hammersmith Dragon Pair Scabbard
An iron sword corroded into a damaged iron scabbard. Scabbard mouth decorated with a 'dragon pair'. The blade has a pronounced median ridge, and tapers in the final 180mm to a long sharp point. The tang is broken at the top, and in section it is rectangular with rounded edges. A straight line in the corrosion products marks a division in the organic handle, between the hilt-end and the grip.
The scabbard is damaged, particularly at the edges, and now lacks the chape-end. The front-plate, with a midrib and raised rounded edges, overlaps the back-plate. The mouth is campanulate, and there is a dragon-pair panel bordered below by a wavy-line between grooves. The dragons, defined by broad chased lines against a background of punched dots, are not perfectly preserved, but seem to reflect one another. Each has an open beak-like mouth, large eye, short curved body with fore-leg tucked under the lower jaw, and a back-curved tail. The front plate has been repaired: three rivets can be distinguished to the right of the rib and one rivet-hole to the left. The mouth of the back plate has been damaged, and the upper loop plate has been lost. The suspension loop is narrow and decorated with a lobe-like ribbon filled with a single line of dots surmounted by an arc and three circles. The rounded lower loop plate is secured with a bronze rivet. The upper part of the chape survives, with a well-preserved bridge on the back. On the front the top of the chape is in poor condition, but it too seems to have been bridged; there are two grooves round one of the edges.
Length: 575 millimetres (blade)
Length: 588 millimetres (scabbard)
Length: 698 millimetres
Width: 47 millimetres (blade)
Width: 50 millimetres (scabbard)
- Curator's comments
- Stead 2006
The illustration in the BM Register (2a) shows a complete open chape end, but only a detached fragment survives.
It was found in the River Thames near Hammersmith Bridge, and purchased from Henry Briggs (the man who sold the Battersea Shield to the British Museum). Perhaps it is the Hammersmith sword and scabbard mentioned by Lawrence (1929: 87) and Piggott (1950: 26, Group 11), but see 1906,0702.4; Stead 1984c: 269-71 and Jope 2000:244, pl.52:e.
- Not on display
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number