- Museum number
Iron dagger corroded into and obscured by its sheath, total length 310 mm. Part of the blade can be seen through a hole in the back plate of the sheath, and it has a median ridge; approximate measurements are 200 mm long (not more than 210 mm) and 53 mm wide. Much of the handle survives. The tang is rectangular, about 8 mm wide and 6 mm deep, with remains of organics (?wood) on the front. It is bordered by lengths of copper alloy binding, 69 mm long and 7 mm deep, which would have clasped the wood on either side. There can have been little thickness of wood on the front and back, but more on the sides, exaggerating the rectangularity of the tang to form a handle about 20 mm wide but perhaps only 10 mm deep. The top of the tang is covered by a hollow iron tube, presumably over an organic core, to form a T-shape, 56 mm long and diameter externally about 11 mm. The hilt end has been made in the same way, with a hollow iron tube (broken at one side), presumably open on the underside where it clasps the top of the blade. The sides of the copper alloy binding are incised with double-lined crosses. The sheath, 217 mm long and 57 mm wide, has a copper alloy front plate overlapping an iron back plate, with broad and salient overlaps. The front plate is in good condition. Its mouth is fairly flat, rising very slightly in the centre; its sides expand very slightly below the mouth, but from about 55 mm down it starts to taper. The pronounced midrib and the overlaps are defined by lines of 'walked scorper' ornament. The iron back plate is cracked and there are two holes in it; nothing of the suspension loop survives. At the bottom the two plates expand markedly and are linked by three copper alloy rivets with large domed heads on the front. Only one, flat rivet head can be distinguished on the back where other details are obscured by corrosion products including extraneous organic (?wood or bone) replacement.
- Production date
- 600 BC - 450 BC (circa)
Length: 200 - 210 millimetres (approx. length of dagger)
Length: 217 millimetres (sheath)
Length: 310 millimetres (total length)
Weight: 328 grammes (including mount)
Thickness: 6 millimetres (tang)
Width: 57 millimetres (sheath)
Width: 8 millimetres (tang)
- Curator's comments
Short iron daggers kept in sheaths appeared during the Hallstatt D period, after around 600 BC.
Stead and Rigby 1999
Context: Daggers and their sheaths; Hallstatt D.
Weapons with blades mainly between 200 and 280 mm long, and 30 to 55 mm wide at the top, found in both Hallstatt D and La Tène I graves.
Hallstatt D: 1. The sheath is made of two metal plates, flared, rounded and riveted at the ends. This type of sheath occurs at Charvais (ML.1731 and grave 31), Les Jogasses (grave 129, and perhaps grave 5), and Bouy, 'les Varilles', grave 1881.4 (Nicaise, A., 1884a, ‘L’époque gauloise dans le Département de la Marne’ Paris, 27, pl. 2, fig. 9) and grave 1880.1 (deliberately bent, ibid., 31 and 37); cf. also Charpy, J.-J., and Roualet, P., 1991, ‘Les Celtes en Champagne’ (exh. cat., Epernay, 23/6 - 3/11/1991), fig. 11b.
Morel, L., 1898, ‘La Champagne souterraine’ Reims, 173, pl. 39, fig. 6, illustrates this piece with the provenance Bussy-le-Château, but his earlier publication (Morel, L., 1878a, Epée gaulois à antennas ‘Revue des sociétés savants des départements’, 6th ser., 8, 146-7) leaves no doubt that it was found at Charvais. Illustrated by Jope, E.M., 1961, Daggers of the Early Iron Age in Britain, ‘Proc. Prehist. Soc.’ (27), fig. 2, showing the remains of a suspension loop that cannot be distinguished now.
- On display (G50/dc10)
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number