- Museum number
Iron sword still in much of its scabbard; the upper part of the back plate was removed for study, but the lower part and the entire length of the front plate was firmly attached by corrosion products. Only the upper 360 mm of the sword blade could be examined, and on one side only. The blade is 620 mm long (measured with the aid of radiographs), the blade is 48 mm wide at the top. It is quite corroded, with a median ridge and sloping shoulders (one shoulder broken). The tang, 107 mm long, is broken at the end: Morel's illustration shows a button terminal. The rectangular section of the tang changes quite sharply to a circular section for the top 3 mm. The scabbard, 640 mm long and 52 mm wide at the top, has the front plate lapping the back with broad and salient overlaps. The chape end is rather more rounded than ML.2940 and ML.1619, with the discs projecting slightly outwards and a maximum width of 33 mm. The upper part of the chape no longer survives, but the binding extends to 85 mm and a mark on the back plate centred 110 mm from the bottom suggests the impression of a chape bridge. The mouth is sub-campanulate, 10 mm high, well preserved on the front but damaged at the back, and there is a 24 mm length of ferrule at the top of the front plate. The suspension loop and its lower plate survive; the loop is rectangular, some 28mm x 11 mm on top (de Navarro type IA). The lower loop plate is D-shaped, and the overall length would have been about 53 mm. The front plate is covered with very clear ?grass impressions, surviving as iron replacement.
Length: 620 millimetres (blade)
Length: 640 millimetres (scabbard)
Length: 107 millimetres (tang)
Width: 48 millimetres (blade)
Width: 52 millimetres (scabbard)
- Curator's comments
- Stead and Rigby 1999
Four iron rings from this grave, ML.1519-ML.1521, would have been part of the scabbard suspension.
Context: Swords and Scabbards; Long swords and their Scabbards; La Tène I.
The blades of most La Tène I swords have median ridges or ribs and taper for about a third of their length to a fairly sharp point. Scabbards are made of two metal plates, the front plate often with a central rib or ridge, and the mouth is convex or campanulate. The suspension loop is long and narrow (De Navarro, J.M., 1972, ‘The Finds from the Site of La Tène, 1, Scabbards and the Swords Found in Them’, London, fig. 8, 1 = type IA; Stead, I.M., 1983, La Tène swords and scabbards in Champagne, ‘Germania’ (61), 487-510, 497), and the chape, whose frame is topped by a bridge on the back and clamps on the front (some early examples are bridged on both sides), terminates in a trefoil or open chape end (i.e. there is space between the scabbard plates and the inner edge of the chape end). Chape ends are the most substantial pieces of the scabbard and the most useful feature for classification.
5. Swords in scabbards that lack midribs and whose small rounded elongated chape ends have inset discs but apparently no finials. Classified by Petres and Szabó (Petres, E.F., and Szabó, M., 1986, Notes on the so-called Hatvan-Boldog type scabbards in A. Duval and J. Gomez de Soto, eds ‘Actes de viii colloque sur les âges du fer en France non Mediterranéenne’ (‘Aquitania’ supplément, 1), 257-272) as Kosd type C; Stead, I.M., 1983, La Tène swords and scabbards in Champagne, ‘Germania’ (61), 487-510, nos 59-69, fig. 6, 5, and fig. 9. Lejars (Lejars, T., 1994, ‘Gournay III: les fourreaux d’épée’ Paris) distinguishes those chapes with more rounded ends (Group 1, variant 3) from those with more pointed ends (Group 3).
Bibliography: Morel, L., 1898, ‘La Champagne souterraine’ Reims, pl. 2, fig. 12; Stead, I.M., 1983, La Tène swords and scabbards in Champagne, ‘Germania’ (61), 487-510, no. 63.
- Not on display
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number