Mr Ian Colquhoun
(email at email@example.com)
The Bronze Age Swords of Ireland
The leaf shaped bronze sword is one of the most distinctive and evocative weapons of prehistory. The type appears throughout Western Europe in the final centuries of the second millennium BC only to disappear as an artefact type with the widespread introduction of iron weapons hundreds of years later. The widespread distribution of the bronze sword points to the increasingly martial nature of Late Bronze Age society, a feature echoed in Ireland and elsewhere by the appearance of defensive landscape features. Over six hundred swords have been recovered from Ireland, the vast majority being nineteenth century finds, often with uncertain provenances. Most belong to the equivalent of the Ewart Park type in Britain, but there are significant numbers of early flange hilted weapons and of the late Gundlingen type.
My research will constitute the first study of the development and context of the Irish swords since George Eogan’s major work of the 1960s, and will take as its central theme the biography or life cycle of a sword, from manufacture through to use and deposition. This life cycle involved many stages, as swords can be viewed not only as weapons, but also as prestige and votive objects. I have a special interest in the reasons why a particular place was chosen for deliberate deposition – the death and burial of the sword - and how this relates to the prehistoric landscape.
Department of Archaeology
- Colquhoun, I. & Burgess, C.B. (1988). The Swords of Britain. Munich: Prahistorische Bronzefunde.
- Colquhoun, I. (2011). Irish Swords: Use and Abuse. In Bronze Age Warfare: Manufacture and Use of Weaponry. Uckelmann, M. & Mödlinger, M. Archaeopress. British Archaeological Reports International Series 2255: 107-116.
- Colquhoun, I. (1979). The Late Bronze Age Hoard from Blackmoor, Hampshire. In Bronze Age Hoards: some finds old and new (British Archaeological Reports 67). Burgess, C. & Coombs, D. Oxford: Archaeopress. 99-116.
Journal papers: academic
- Colquhoun, I. (2010). Flints from Sandy Bay, Northumberland. Northern Archaeology 21: 31-38.
- Colquhoun, I. (1981). A Late Bronze Age Tanged Razor from Carlisle Museum and Class IV Razors from Britain. Northern Archaeology 2: 11–14.
- Colquhoun, I. (1978). Bronze Age Metalwork in Somerset: A Catalogue of Stray Finds. Proceedings of the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society 122: 83 -101.