- Museum number
The upper part of a scabbard with an iron back plate, which overlaps the copper-alloy front plate. It is damaged, corroded and now in three pieces. Of the three pieces, the top and middle were probably deposited as one and then separated by corrosion and unintentional damage. But the third piece (with suspension loop) was probably separate at the time of deposition, having been broken along a fairly straight line when the scabbard was sharply bent. The iron overlaps expand slightly at the break, and the lower part of the front plate is folded back on itself. The other end of the third piece also terminates sharply at a straight line, and there are the remains of two rivets (3 mm from the end and 5 mm from each edge), and possibly of a third midway between them. There is no hint of an overlapping plate or strip, but presumably the back plate had been mended and then broken on the line of the repair. The three pieces together are about 276 mm long, 40 mm wide at the top and tapering to 36 mm wide above the second break. Below a damaged mouth, the copper-alloy front plate has been ornamented with two roundels, attached by central rivets, but only the empty rivet holes and the concentric marking-out lines survive. The centres of the rivet holes are 16 mm apart, and the incised circles are about 16 mm diameter. Another rivet hole, about 6 mm below the right hole, is now filled with iron corrosion products, and the upper edge of a corresponding hole, about 7 mm below the left hole, can also be distinguished. This second pair of holes is either misplaced or intended for replacement roundels that have left no trace. The front plate is 36 mm wide at the top, and a pair of lines on each side, not particularly sharply marked, define a central decorated band, 26 mm wide at the top, with plain borders. A 160 mm length of decoration can be distinguished, and it must be assumed that the entire plate was decorated; however, the overall theme is in doubt because there is a marked change in the pattern 72 mm from the top. The pattern starts with a reversed S-shape, the terminals of which almost touch the stem. The uppermost arc is swollen and filled with at least four adjoining spirals, and the upper terminal is unadorned. The lower terminal is a comma-motif filled with a tightly coiled spiral at the end, followed perhaps by another spiral (badly damaged) and then simple cross-hatching. Outside the reversed-S, to the bottom right, is a semicircular shape (its straight edge along the border) filled with a tightly coiled spiral bordered by a lobe and a partitioned triangle on one side, and by a triangle on the other. Then the pattern changes, and what can be distinguished of the rest seems to be an overall wave from which various filled motifs rise to occupy the voids. The first motif is hook-shaped, and springs from a narrow stem rising from a broad base filled with two lobes flanking a triangle. The hook-shape is filled with two spirals and what may well have been another pair of lobes flanking a triangle. The next part of the pattern is more difficult to distinguish because it is damaged and part of the plate is folded over on itself. But instead of a single motif there are two closely adjacent shapes. The first is hook-shaped and filled with spirals again, but of the outline of the second only a single curve survives (perhaps it was another semicircle or a comma) within which is at least one spiral. Beyond, the wave continues on the fragment that has been folded over.
The mouth of the back plate survives intact, campanulate and 9 mm high. The suspension loop was well down the scabbard, its top 175 mm below the mouth. It has rounded (or perhaps short, heart-shaped) loop plates attached by iron rivets: each has certainly two rivets (side by side), and X-rays suggest a third that is central and nearer the end. The loop itself is long and narrow, about 43 mm long and 13-14 mm wide, and the entire length of the loop and loop plates is 79 mm. The upper loop plate has become detached in antiquity, presumably at the time that the scabbard was bent and broken, and it is now corroded to the scabbard plate well to the side of its intended position. It had been riveted slightly to the right of the centre line, with the left rivets 16 and 14.5 mm from the left edge, and the right rivets 11.5 and 12.5 mm from the right edge.
Width: 36 - 40 millimetres (back plate)
Length: 79 millimetres (suspension loop)
Length: 276 millimetres
Width: 36 millimetres (top of front plate)
- Curator's comments
- Stead 2006
Found near the bottom of the ditch of a neolithic henge monument (Roberts 2005: 228 and 229).
- Not on display
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number