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28 November 2014
Bronze Age dagger recovered in Norfolk

A Middle Bronze Age ceremonial dagger ploughed up twelve years ago in a field in East Rudham, Norfolk, in the east of England, was used for years as a doorstop and is just now being conserved.
     Known as the Rudham Dirk, it is thought to be about 3,500 years old, is only the second of its type to be found in the UK, and one of only six similar ceremonial weapons to have been found in Europe. It is about three times the size of a normal Bronze Age dirk, making it impractical for use as a weapon. It is thought to have been bent as part of a ritual when it was buried, to prevent its future use.
     The 1.9 kilo dirk is made from bronze, which is nine-tenths copper and one-tenth tin. The nearest source for the copper is Wales, while the tin may have come from Cornwall.
     The only other example of a dirk of this type found in Britain was discovered in Oxborough in Norfolk in 1988. According to the British Museum there are only four other examples of similar ceremonial dirks found, two in the Netherlands and two in France.
     Straightened out, the Rudham Dirk would be 68 centimetre long, slightly shorter than the Oxborough example. It may even have been made in the same workshop, maybe even by the same craftsperson.
     Dr Andrew Rogers, whose team first identified the dirk, said he never expected the Oxborough discovery would be repeated.
     Dr John Davies, Chief Curator of Norfolk Museums Service, said: "This is one of the real landmark discoveries."

Edited from BBC News, EDP24 (24 November 2014)

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