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Tyne and Wear HER(769): South Shields, River Tyne, bronze sword - Details

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S Tyneside

South Shields, River Tyne, bronze sword

South Shields


Armour and Weapons




Bronze Age


In 1892 T.J. Bell of Cleadon Hall exhibited to the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle a bronze sword "purchased in South Shields, but probably taken from the river". In 1931 Parker Brewis speculated that it had probably been dredged from the Tyne for "Mr. T.J. Bell...bought such things from the Tyne dredger men, and the bent and scored as if by a dredger bucket". The mention of South Shields led Cowen to locate its discovery in "the lower reaches of the Tyne". The sword lacks all the tang and part of the butt, so has a minimum length of 600 mm (1 feet 11.5 inches), is 1 1/8 inches wide at the centre of the blade, 2 1/8 inches wide next to the handle. The blade is bent; there are 6 rivet-holes in the butt.




<< HER 769 >> T.J. Bell, 1893, Exhibited,Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle, 2, V (for 1891-92), pp. 160-1 G.B. Hodgson, 1903, The Borough of South Shields, pp. 9-10 P. Brewis, 1931, Additions to the Museum, The Thomas James Bell CollectionProceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle, 4, IV (for 1929-30), pp. 104, 140 J.D. Cowen, 1967, The Hallstatt Sword of Bronze: on the Continent and in Britain, Proceedings Prehistoric Society, XXXIII, p. 445 no. 200 A.J. Challis & D.W. Harding, 1975, Later Prehistory from the Trent to the Tyne, British Archaeological Report, 20 pt. ii, p. 35 no. 3 R. Miket, 1984, The Prehistory of Tyne and Wear, p. 81 and p. 83 fig. 26 no. 10

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