- Museum number
Iron sword corroded into its scabbard (fourteen fragments in total); in extremely poor condition, it had been consolidated with wire supports and a liberal application of plaster. The sword is in fragments, with two separate lengths of tang. Including the base of the tang, the main piece measures 495 mm long; beyond that is a much corroded length of blade with chape binding attached; and finally, after a break, the quite sharp point is still in the end of the chape. The blade could have been about 705 mm long, but it cannot be measured accurately because it includes two probable (but not certain) joins and two badly broken shoulders. The blade is 48 mm wide and fairly flat; its taper can be established from the scabbard. The tang seems to have been rectangular in section and Morel's illustration shows a button terminal that has not survived. The scabbard is also in fragments, but perhaps measured about 730 mm long. Its edges are corroded, but the width, 54 mm at the very top, seems to have been maintained at 52 mm to 520 mm from the top, with no taper whatsoever. The chape binding survives for about 235 mm from the bottom but there are neither chape clamps nor bridge. The chape end is V-shaped and thickened; there is a marked decrease in thickness 78 mm from the bottom, but no clear finials (de Navarro type Aiii). The front plate, which overlaps the back, has a slight groove down one side about 9 mm from the edge, and there is no midrib. The mouth of the scabbard survives on the front plate, but it is damaged in the middle. On the back plate there is a lower loop plate, roughly D-shaped, and 25 mm wide. Fragments from another scabbard had been used in the restoration of this piece, and parts of the original scabbard had been joined incorrectly in the plastered restoration; for instance, the piece of front plate immediately above the chape end had been reversed and placed much higher on the scabbard.
Length: 815 millimetres (according to present restoration.)
Length: 705 millimetres (possible blade length)
Length: 730 millimetres (possible scabbard length)
Width: 48 millimetres (blade)
Width: 54 millimetres (scabbard)
- Curator's comments
- Stead and Rigby 1999
This weapon was in very much better condition when it was published by Morel. He shows the back plate only, which seems to be more or less complete apart from the suspension loop and the upper loop plate. The tang, now in three pieces, is shown complete and even seems to have a button terminal. Morel notes that the two scabbard plates had broken apart allowing earth between them; he thought that it had a trefoil chape end, but was perhaps confused by accretions that have now disappeared; he records that it had fabric traces which no longer survive; and he gives measurements that can be correlated neither with the surviving weapon nor with his own illustration. The scabbard is said to be 60 mm wide which correlates with the illustration but not with the surviving pieces which are 52 mm wide; the entire length of the sword in its scabbard is recorded as 840 mm compared with 800 mm measured from Morel's drawing ignoring the corrosion beyond the chape end. It is impossible to correlate these length measurements with the surviving remains, because the tang is in fragments and cannot be restored. But if Morel recorded the length of the tang correctly, then the entire sword in its scabbard according to the previous restoration would have been about 840 mm and according to the present restoration 815 mm.
Context: Swords and Scabbards; Long swords and their Scabbards; La Tène II.
1. Swords in scabbards with closed chapes.
Bibliography: Morel, L., 1898, ‘La Champagne souterraine’ Reims, pl. 1, fig. 2; Charpy, J.-J., and Rapin, A., 1991, La sépulture celtique de Marson ‘Montfercault’ (Marne), ‘Mémoires de la société d’agriculture, commerce, sciences et arts du department de la Marne’ (106), 11-14, suggesting slightly shorter measurements. Apart from its length, the most distinctive feature of this sword is its de Navarro type Aiii chape end, a La Tène II type. In Lejars' (Lejars, T., 1994, ‘Gournay III: les fourreaux d’épée’ Paris) typology it fits within groups 5 or 7 (it is too corroded to be more specific).
- Not on display
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number