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Ceremonial bronze dirk
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A man walking in woods in East Anglia literally stumbled across this dirk (short sword) in 1988. It had been thrust vertically into soft peaty ground nearly 3500 years ago, but erosion had exposed the hilt-plate, which caught his toe.

The “weapon” has the same shape as early Middle Bronze Age dirks used in Britain, but it is much larger than normal dirks. The edges of the blade are very neatly fashioned but deliberately blunt, and no rivet holes were ever provided at the butt for attaching a handle. The dirk was evidently never intended tobe used as a weapon. Instead, it was probably designed for ceremonial use.

This dirk is the only example of its type found in Britain, but four have been found in continental Europe. All five weapons are so similar that it is possible they were all made in the same workshop.

Ceremonial bronze dirk

From Oxborough, Norfolk, England, 1450-1300 BC.
L. 70,9 cm.
Wt 2,368 kg.
Purchased with the assistance of the Art Fund.

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