Lifting the Bronze Age Sword. Image: GUARD Archaeology

 

Excavations at Carnoustie, Angus, have revealed a set of elaborate Bronze Age weapons, dating back to c.1000-800 BC. The finds include a Bronze Age sword complete with pin and wooden scabbard, alongside a bronze spearhead embellished with a golden socket.

GUARD Archaeology made the discoveries while excavating land in Angus, prior to its use as grounds for a sports development.

Not only are gold-ornamented weapons of this style highly rare, the survival of organic matter around the weapons makes this a discovery of international importance: fragments of fur skin, as well as the leather and wood of the scabbard, were found housing the weapons.

GUARD Project Officer, Beth Spence, commented that ‘organic evidence like Bronze Age wooden scabbards rarely survive’, underlining the ‘extraordinary’ nature of the finds. The weapons were located amid the remains of 12 Bronze Age houses, as well as the largest Neolithic hall to be discovered in Scotland. This, and the use of gold to decorate the weapons, suggests the existence of a lavish Bronze Age settlement in the area, inhabited by a wealthy warrior class.

Claire Herbert of ACAS, archaeological advisers to Angus Council, said, ‘The archaeology uncovered at Carnoustie is undoubtedly of national and international significance, and will certainly further enhance our knowledge of the prehistory of this area, providing an invaluable opportunity to learn more about how people in Angus lived in the Neolithic and Bronze Age.’

Excavation work continues at the site.

Bronze Age spearhead with gold ornament

Bronze Age spearhead with gold ornament. Image: GUARD Archaeology

 

This article is an excerpt from the latest issue of MHM. Click here to read the full feature.



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