- Museum number
An iron sword with a copper-alloy anthropoid handle. The full length is now 468 mm; the blade is 335 mm long, but lacks the tip (it could have been perhaps 60 or 80 mm longer), and is 41 mm wide at the top. The blade is corroded and the edges are damaged, and there is a very slight bend 205 mm from the top of the blade, but overall it is in sound condition. It has a slight corroded median ridge. Its cast handle, 135 mm high, is in three parts. The pommel, 30 mm high, is in the form of a human head, quite worn, with the jaw line in good relief. The nose is flattened and worn, the eyes are elongated and in slight relief (the left eye now better defined than the right), and both ears are in good relief. Perhaps the line of a down-turned moustache can be distinguished on the left. The hair is drawn back (lines are visible at each side) with a rounded hairline at the back. The burred head of the tang can be seen on top. The second piece of the handle is the upper part of the grip, which is 37 mm long in the centre and 64 mm wide at the 'arms'. The arms are raised, terminate in defined rounded mouldings, and between them is the base of the neck. Below, there are two cordons, the lower better defined than the upper. The third piece, 68 mm long overall and 72 mm wide, is the lower part of the grip and the hilt end. Its body has three cordons, decreasing in size from the top (20 mm wide and 19 mm deep), and there is a ridge at the top of the hilt end. The underside of the hilt end, which is campanulate, narrow and high (18 mm high), terminates in defined rounded mouldings like those on the 'arms'. It is grooved on the underside in order to take the shoulders of the blade. The blade is slightly off-centre to its handle, and projects on the left side while it is a tight fit on the right.
- Production date
- 200 BC - 100 BC (circa)
Length: 335 millimetres (blade)
Length: 468 millimetres
Weight: 436 grammes
Thickness: 5 millimetres (blade, max)
Thickness: 22.60 millimetres (handle, max)
Width: 71.90 millimetres (handle, max)
Width: 41 millimetres (top of blade)
- Curator's comments
- Stead 2006
Purchased with other antiquities from Lord Londesborough's collection. The Register records a label, '117', that does not survive and whose significance is unknown. Smith 1905 (78, fig. 61:3) makes little comment, but in the second edition of his ‘Guide’ (1925: 60 and 109, fig. 58:3), he was 'almost certain' that it had been found in Yorkshire, because of Lord Londesborough's connection with the county and the discovery of other anthropoid swords there. But Londesborough owned antiquities from elsewhere, including some significant pieces from Ireland, where another anthropoid sword was found. Piggott 1950: 26 (Group IIA); Clarke and Hawkes 1955: 227, no. 49, pl. 25:9, fig. 6:7; Jope 2000:101 and 258, pl. 133:h.
- On display (G50/dc9)
- Exhibition history
2016 11 Mar- 25 Sep, Edinburgh, National Museum of Scotland, Celts.
1980, London, BM, Celtic Antiquities from Gaul
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number