A Life In Fragments

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Tag Archives: Bronze Age

Fragments of the PAS: Somerset

And so I reach the final of my four counties: Somerset. Again, it is a diverse environment, some parts flooding heavily, contrasted by upland areas which served as centres for barrow cemeteries and monuments, as well as embanked settlements that acted as precursors for hillforts. Inevitably the character of metalwork recovered through the PAS differs from the previous counties presented: there’s less gold than Dorset, fewer ingots than Devon, more spearheads than Cornwall. (more…)

The Broken Hoards of Late Bronze Age Cornwall

Cornwall has a lot of Late Bronze Age hoards.

I know this because I am currently trying to see them all. Fortunately, the majority are held in the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro, which I can see from my living room window, making my life a lot easier! These hoards hold particular significance, however, as they follow the typical Late Bronze Age pattern of having been smashed to pieces. (more…)

Reflections on “From Every Object A Story”

On October 19th and 20th, I attended the Later Prehistoric Finds Group (LPFG) conference: From Every Object A Story. This conference offered the rare opportunity for all of those of us around the country studying all objects of the Bronze and Iron Ages to get together and basically nerd out.

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When is a palstave not a palstave?

I’m sure it’s clear by now that I love the objects that tell a story. I spend a lot of time going through old reports and it’s so intriguing to read previous perceptions of Bronze Age objects. (more…)

Giving my spears the shaft

On Thursday, I got to do one of the things I’ve been most excited to do – I got to stick haft my barbed spearheads. These spearheads are based on the destroyed Bloody Pool hoard making them an incredibly suitable case study to replicate and experiment with. I have a special place in my heart for spearheads – more so than swords and axes! (more…)

The South Cadbury Shield: What, Where, When and Why?

I’d like to introduce you all (again!) to my favourite Bronze Age object in South West England (and possibly Bronze Age Europe): the South Cadbury shield. I first encountered this shield a few years ago and all of the studies I’ve done since have somehow led me back to it. The dynamics of this object and its context are so interesting that I simply can’t get enough of it! (more…)

Breaking apart Bronze Age swords: Smashing good fun!

Last Thursday, I took an impromptu trip to Butser Ancient Farm to assist Neil Burridge with some sword casting he was doing as part of a filming project with 360 Production (the guys who make Digging for Britain!) Needless to say, the casting went well, Neil produced an expertly delivered spiel on bronze sword casting, and everyone was very happy. It was after the camera crew had done their thing that we turned to the main event of my day – that is, breaking the sword into fragments. (more…)

A Late Bronze Age hoard from Long Bredy, Dorset

In 2009, a Late Bronze Age hoard was found while metal-detecting in a field in Long Bredy, which was promptly reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme (Treasure No. 2009 T649). This hoard consists of a three deliberately broken sword fragments, a late pegged spearhead, a socketed gouge and a bifid razor and dates to the Ewart Park phase (c.1000-800 BC). It is currently held at Dorchester County Museum and I recently had the chance to study it and gain an insight into a hoard that is quite unusual for the area. (more…)

A Week in Fragments: Research, Experiments and Interesting Conversations

This week has been a bit all over the place – every day has offered me interesting meetings, museums visits, plans for teaching archaeology summer classes, and many objects to look at! So this post, like my week, is going to be fragmented, and give a brief update of everything! (more…)

Starting My Experiments – Swording Things Out

This week I had the absolute pleasure of working with the excellent bronzesmith, Neil Burridge, down in Cornwall and finally embarking on some of my experimental work. I know I’ve been alluding to it for quite some time, though I’ve never actually explained what it is I’m trying to achieve and how. (more…)