- Museum number
Iron socketed spear-head. Blade and socket chipped, end of rivet visible inside, and one head.
Length: 193 millimetres
Width: 30 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Stead and Rigby 1999
Findspot: Marson (Marne)
Morel's report on the excavations at Marson was read at the Sorbonne on 4 April 1874 and again at Châlons-sur-Marne on 27 October 1874. His publication (Morel, L., 1874a, La découverte de sépultures gauloises au territoire de Marson, ‘Mémoires de la société d’agriculture, commerce, sciences et arts du department de la Marne’ (1873-4), 179-94.), virtually identical to the version in Morel, L., 1898, ‘La Champagne souterraine’ Reims, 5-20, is accompanied by the first six plates of the ‘Album’.
(b)'La voie de Lépine'
A huge cemetery at the top of and on the slopes of a hill, extending for almost a kilometre. Morel excavated here between April 1873 and February 1874 and found about 200 burials scattered over about a kilometre, sometimes in groups of four or five. Some graves held more than one skeleton, with two or three burials superimposed, or two side by side. Most graves were orientated west-east, from 1 m to 1.5 m deep, and filled with terre noire, and almost half of them had been disturbed previously. Smith, R.A., 1925, ‘A guide to the antiquities of the Early Iron Age’ (second edition), London, 64-5.
Grave 23: Grave also included: three iron spearheads, one L. 220 mm, found to the left of the skull (six are illustrated, and it is not clear which three were in this grave; the Register correlates with ML.1509-11, but there seems little resemblance to the illustrations); two arrowheads and iron fragments possibly from a quiver; wood traces, perhaps from a shield; two other pots, each with a lid.
The spear was the dominant weapon from Hallstatt D to La Tène lb, found sometimes singly and sometimes in groups of two, three and four spearheads. Eight spearheads are said to have been found in a cart-burial at Epoye (Bosteaux-Paris, C., 1892, Resultats de fouilles aux environs de Reims, ‘Association française pour l’avancement de science’ (II), 614). At Quilly they were by the right foot, pointing into the foot of the grave (graves 8, 12, 15), a position favoured in half the Mont Troté graves with spearheads (graves 23, 98 and 102), whereas at Les Grandes Loges the preferred position was on the left of the skeleton and more usually at the head than the foot of the grave (as at Mont Troté graves 32 and 136, and Vert-la-Gravelle grave 6bis). Spearheads are occasionally found with daggers or swords, and rarely with the remains of shields. In La Tène Ic and La Tène II there was a change in practice with the typical warrior's assemblage comprising a single spear with a sword and shield.
Most spearheads have mineralized wood in the sockets, and seem to have been attached to the shank by an iron rivet (or sometimes perhaps a wooden peg?) that passed through holes in the socket below the wings of the blade. Not many rivets survive intact.
1. The most common type of spearhead in the Morel Collection has a blade that is flat or with a slight median ridge; its maximum width is between a third and a quarter of the length of the blade, and there is a lengthy taper to the tip. Most spearheads have blades between 2 and 3.5 times longer than the socket. Frequent in Hallstatt D and early La Tène I contexts such as Les Jogasses and Villeneuve-Renneville.
Bibliography: Morel, L., 1898, ‘La Champagne souterraine’ Reims,pl. 2, fig. 7 (perhaps fig. 7 bis, right = L 198 mm according to the scale).
- Not on display
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number