- Museum number
Iron short sword. The blade is slightly waisted, widening to the curved shoulders, with a very long, gently tapering tip which forms over half of the blade. A double groove runs along the upper part of the blade on both faces. A slightly arched line which marks the lower edge of the hilt is visible in the corrosion. The tang is relatively long, tapering to a small mushroom head.
Length: 492 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Manning 1985
The blade is reminiscent of the Mainz type of gladius, and, perhaps even more, of the narrower forms of legionary dagger discussed below, which also often have longitudinal grooves on the blade (e.g. from Rheingönheim, Ulbert 1969, 52, Taf. 46, 38), both of which are early types. Its length, however, is substantially greater than that of any dagger and makes it comparable with the short swords from Künzing (Schönberger and Herrmann 1971, 59, Abb. 20). Several blade forms are known from this site, and while none precisely parallels the Museum's they do confirm that a variety of forms was in use in the third century. Many of the Künzing swords have the longitudinal grooves seen on the London sword, and this feature is also found on the Ringknaufschwerter which are known in some numbers from Germany in the later Empire (e.g. Saalburg-Jahrbuch 14 (1955), 56, Abb. 5, 7 from Steinamanger). The form of the hilt line seen on the Museum's piece was a feature of several Iron Age forms of sword but it also appears on the sword from Camelon (Scott in Breeze et al. 1976, 81), which confirms that it continued into the Roman period. The blade of the Museum's piece is quite unacceptable as an Iron Age form; more probably it is an example of the same phenomenon as had been seen in the Hod Hill sword (registration no. 1892,0901.452), a Roman sword to which had been added some fittings of Celtic design. If this is the case, a date relatively early in the Roman period, within the first or early second century, would be most probable.
- On display (G49/dc8)
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number