|31 December 2015
Bronze Age rapier unearthed in South Lanarkshire
A Middle Bronze Age rapier has been discovered by archaeologists from Rathmell Archaeology Ltd at Cloburn Quarry, Lanark (Lanarkshire, Scotland). The discovery was made as the archaeologists were excavating a kerb cairn for Cloburn Quarry Company Ltd. The find came from amongst cairn material which had been robbed from - and dumped next to - the cairn, probably during the 19th century. It may have been disturbed from a burial within the kerb cairn.
The rapier is cast in bronze and measures 337mm in length, with a maximum blade width of 18mm. The object would once have been attached to a bone or wooden hilt by bronze rivets: while the blade survives intact, the butt is too badly damaged to identify their location.
With only around 40 dirks and rapiers recorded throughout Scotland, they are uncommon and this is the first known example found in Lanarkshire. Occasionally placed in hoards, these objects are more often found in wet places such as peat bogs so the discovery of an isolated specimen in close association with a burial monument of comparable date is very interesting.
The initial assessment is that the rapier has its origins early in the sequence, dating perhaps to c. 1600 BCE, and has affinities with known examples from Dumfries & Galloway and Ireland.
Edited from WOSAS.net (December 2015)
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