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Title: Sword hilt fragment
Item Name: Armour and Weapons


Find RF20. Hilt guard fragment from sword RF16. Of iron, ivory (possibly sperm whale tooth) and copper alloy. The iron tang passes through the upper part of the guard. There is also a copper alloy ring with ridge/groove decoration. The right side of the ivory is carved with an opposing double trumpet (or possibly "muzzle" motif), similar to the sides of the scabbard chape (see 2005.99.2). The left side of the hilt guard was probably similarly decorated. Context 1003. Part of the South Cave Weapons Cache of 5 late Iron Age swords/scabbards and 33 iron spearheads, found by metal detectorists in September 2002. The site was subsequently excavated by Humber Field Archaeology and York Archaeological Trust. The cache was buried in a pit, dug into a pre-existing boundary ditch of a late Iron age/early Romano-British settlement. The finds date to about 70AD.

Culture: Iron Age
Materials: copper alloy; iron; ivory
Measurements: L:5cm; W:3cm (approx)
ID_Number: ERYMS : 2005.99.3

Related Exhibitions

Heavy Metal in the Iron Age: The South Cave Weapons Cache & other treasures
An exhibition focused on the discovery (in 2002) of five swords in their decorated scabbards and 33 spearheads on agricultural land near South Cave. Dating to around the time of the Roman conquest of the area (70AD), the finds are remarkably well-preserved and an important resource for our understanding of the period. The display also looked at the landscape of the Foulness valley, from where most of the materials probably came and the evidence for iron working in the Iron Age / Roman periods. Other items from the collections, loans from Hull Museums Service and other metal detecting finds from the area were also included in the exhibition, which attracted around 5000 visitors.

Related Publications

A late Iron age Weapons cache from East Yorkshire: Assessment Report
Humber Field Archaeology