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Title: The Bronze Age in Ireland
Author: Coffey, George, 1857-1916
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Bronze Age in Ireland" ***

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Transcriber's Note: The term "halberd" and "halbert" have both been
used on numerous occasions. "Halbert" is a variant of "Halberd" and
has been left as printed in the original text.

       *       *       *       *       *









In this book on the Bronze Age in Ireland I have collected and
collated all my work on the period. Much of it I have already
published in the "Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy" and
elsewhere. I have long felt the need of a book on the Bronze Age in
Ireland, as hitherto none has appeared dealing adequately with the
archæology of that period in this country.

Within the last few years it has been recognized that the Bronze-Age
civilization in Europe did not consist of a series of isolated
communities, each developing its own type of objects and decorations,
but that there was a community of ideas and forms extending from
Mycenæ all over the European continent.

I have described the various forms of Bronze-Age implements of peace
and of war found in Ireland, and have shown how they are connected
with similar types on the continent of Europe. M. J. Déchelette, of
the Roanne Museum, one of the first authorities on the Bronze Age,
agrees with me in ascribing a Mycenæan origin to certain forms of
Bronze-Age implements.

How this Mycenæan influence penetrated to Ireland is a matter on which
there is some difference of opinion, and possibly new discoveries may
throw additional light on the problem. As I have shown both in this
and in former works, the most probable route seems to be that of the
Danube and the Elbe, and thence by way of Scandinavia to Ireland. It
is to be hoped that now--with a concentrating of Irish interests on
Irish affairs a new impetus will be given to the study of the history
of our country, and that many workers may be found in the fields of
archæology and of all subjects connected with our past.

In my "Guide to the Celtic Antiquities of the Christian Period" I have
given the history of Irish art in the Christian period; in "New Grange
(Brugh na Boine) and other Incised Tumuli in Ireland, the influence of
Crete and the Ægean in the extreme west of Europe in early times," I
have given as much as is known of the pre-Christian period up to the
Bronze Age; and in this, my latest work, which has been much
interrupted by illness, I have endeavoured to complete the history of
ancient art in Ireland.

I have to thank the Councils of the Royal Irish Academy and of the
Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland for the loan of a number of
blocks. In other cases drawings have been made direct from objects in
the National Museum by Miss E. Barnes.

The plates are from photographs taken by the photographer of the
National Museum.

In offering this book to the public I must express my gratitude to Mr.
E. C. R. Armstrong, to whom I am indebted for his unvarying kindness
and sympathy, and for much valuable assistance both in the matter and
form of the work.

                                              GEORGE COFFEY.


 CHAPTER I,                                                      1
   Introduction; Chronology of the Irish Bronze Age.

 CHAPTER II,                                                     6
   Transitional Copper Period; Localities where native copper
   is found in Ireland; Finds of copper celts; Moulds for
   casting flat celts; List of localities where Irish copper
   celts have been found; Halberds; Localities where found;
   Types; Analyses; Continental examples; Probable derivation
   of Irish halberds from Spain.

 CHAPTER III,                                                   23
   First and later periods of the Bronze Age; Evolution of the
   bronze celt; Ornamentation of bronze celts; Palstave with
   double loops; Anvil and hammers; Spear-heads; Evolution
   from the knife-dagger; Type derived from the rapier;
   Leaf-shaped spear-heads; Spear-heads with apertures in the
   blade; Moulds for casting spear-heads; Ferules for spear-butts.

 CHAPTER IV,                                                    46
   Irish gold: Account of Irish gold deposits; Lunulæ:
   General description of; Distribution.

 CHAPTER V,                                                     56
   Daggers and rapiers; Evolution of the dagger and rapier
   blade; Handles of daggers and rapiers.

 CHAPTER VI,                                                    62
   Gold gorgets; Gold sun-disks; Gold balls; Clare find;
   Penannular rings and ring-money; Ring-money.

 CHAPTER VII,                                                   71
   Leaf-shaped swords; Division of types; Absence of moulds
   for casting; Bronze chapes; Winged chapes; Shields;
   Circular bronze shields; Shield of wood; Leather Shield.

 CHAPTER VIII,                                                  78
   Torcs; Twisted torcs; Distribution of torcs; Ribbon torcs;
   Plain torcs.

 CHAPTER IX,                                                    80
   Bronze-age finds; List of well-authenticated Irish finds.

 CHAPTER X,                                                     88
   Bronze trumpets; Types and derivation of Irish trumpets;
   Sickles; Discussion of types; Importance of, with regard to
   date of agriculture; Disk-headed pins.

 CHAPTER XI,                                                    94
   Bronze-age pottery; Food-vessels; Derivation of, from
   Neolithic type; Cinerary urns; Incense cups.

 CHAPTER XII,                                                  101
   Bronze-age ornamentation in Ireland; Discussion of the
   ornamentation at New Grange; M. Déchelette's views as to
   its origin compared with those of the author.

 INDEX,                                                        105


 Fig.                                                     Page
   1. Copper Halbert, Birr find,                             7
   2. Copper celts, Birr find,                               8
   3. Copper knife and awls found at Knocknague,             9
   4. Copper celts,                                         10
   5. Copper celts from Cappeen, Co. Cork,                  11
   6. Stone mould for casting celts,                        12
   7. Halbert blades,                                       13
   8. Halbert blades,                                       14
   9. Halbert blades,                                       15
  10. Halbert blades,                                       16
  11. Halberts from North Germany and Sweden,               18
  12. Halberts from South and East Spain,                   19
  13. Rock markings, Maritime Alps,                         20
  14. Stone pick from the Bann,                             21
  15. Deer-horn pick,                                       21
  16. Ornamented bronze celts,                              24
      Plate I, Irish bronze celts in the order
          of their development,                             24
  17. Ornamented bronze celts,                              25
  18. Ornamented bronze celts,                              26
  19. Winged celt,                                          27
  20. Winged celt,                                          27
  21. Palstave with double loops,                           27
  22. Bronze anvil,                                         28
  23. Bronze hammers,                                       28
  24. Dagger and spear-heads,                               29
  25. Spear-heads,                                          30
  26. Spear-heads,                                          31
  27. Rapier and spear-head,                                31
  28. Leaf-shaped spear-heads,                              32
  29. Ornamented socket of spear-head,                      32
  30. Leaf-shaped spear-heads found at the Ford,
          Belturbet,                                        33
  31. Spear-heads with loops joining the blade,             34
  32. Spear-heads,                                          34
  33. Ornamental spear-heads, with openings in
          the blade,                                        35
  34. Portion of spear-head, with studs at the
          base of the wings,                                35
  35. Spear-heads with openings in the blades,              36
  36. Spear-heads with ornamental loops in the blades,      37
  37. Spear-head found at Tempo, Co. Fermanagh,             37
  38. Half of mould for casting a socketed spear-head,
          Killymeddy, Co. Antrim,                           38
  39. Half of mould for casting a spear-head and dagger,
          Killymeddy, Co. Antrim,                           39
  40. Mould for casting a spear-head and knife,
          Killymeddy, Co. Antrim,                           40
  41. Moulds for casting primitive spear-heads found in
          Co. Tyrone,                                       41
  42. Moulds for casting primitive spear-heads found in
          Co. Tyrone,                                       42
  43. Half of mould for casting spear-head and dagger,
          Killymeddy, Co. Antrim,                           43
  44. Bronze spear-ferules,                                 44
  45. Bronze spear-ferule with La Tène ornament,            44
  46. Gold lunula found at Trenta, Carrigans, Co. Donegal,  47
  47. Gold lunula found in Co. Galway,                      48
  48. Gold lunula,                                          49
  49. Gold lunula found at Killarney,                       50
  50. Oak case for lunula found at Newtown, Co. Cavan,      51
  51. Gold lunula found at Valognes, Manche,                51
  52. Gold lunula found in Co. Londonderry,                 52
  53. Gold lunula found at Athlone,                         54
  54. Map showing the distribution of gold lunulæ in
          Ireland and Europe,                               55
  55. Stone celt, bronze dagger with gold band, and urn,
          found in Topped Mountain Cairn, Co. Fermanagh,    56
  56. Dagger and rapier blades,                             57
  57. Dagger with horn handle found at Ballymoney,
          Co. Antrim,                                       59
  58. Rapier found in Upper Lough Erne,                     59
  59. Rapier found at Lissane, Co. Derry,                   59
  60. Rapiers and daggers found in Ireland,                 61
  61. Gold gorget found in Ireland, formerly in the
          possession of the Earl of Charleville,            62
      Plate II, Irish gold gorgets,                         62
      Plate III, gold sun-disks,                            64
      Plate IV, portion of the great Clare find,            66
  62. Gold fibulæ and other objects found together
          at Coachford, Co. Cork,                           67
      Plate V, gold fibulæ,                                 68
  63. Sixteenth-century bronze casting from Benin,
          showing Europeans holding manillas,               68
  64. Sixteenth-century bronze casting from Benin,
          showing natives holding manillas,                 69
      Plate VI, gold ring-money,                            70
  65. Leaf-shaped bronze swords found with a spear-head
          at Tempo, Co. Fermanagh,                          72
  66. Bronze chapes,                                        73
  67. Winged chapes,                                        73
  68. Bronze shield found at Lough Gur, Co. Limerick,       74
  69. Alder-wood shield found in Co. Leitrim,               75
  70. Front and back of leather shield, found at Clonbrin,
          Co. Longford,                                     76
      Plate VII, gold torcs from Tara and elsewhere,        78
      Plate VIII, gold torcs,                               78
      Plate IX, gold torcs from Clonmacnois and Broighter,  80
  71. Two late Bronze-Age finds,                            83
  72. Late Bronze-Age horse-hair fabrics from Armoy,
          Co. Antrim,                                       84
  73. Bronze implements, Co. Tipperary,                     85
  74. Bronze implements found at Kilfeakle, Co. Tipperary,  86
      Plate X, bronze trumpets,                             88
  75. Mould for casting a sickle, found at Killymeddy,
          Co. Antrim,                                       89
  76. Bronze sickles,                                       90
  77. Bronze sickles,                                       91
  78. Bronze disk,                                          92
  79. Bronze button,                                        92
  80. Incense cup,                                          94
  81. Cinerary urn,                                         94
  82. Food-vessel with cover, Danesfort, Co. Kilkenny,      95
  83. Cinerary urn, Carballybeg, Co. Waterford,             96
      Plate XI, food-vessels in the order of their
          development,                                      96
  84. Model of cinerary urn from Greenhills, Co. Dublin,    97
  85. Cinerary urn, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone,                  98

       *       *       *       *       *




This book deals with the Bronze Age principally from the point of view
of the implements and weapons in use in Ireland during that period. It
is unnecessary to state that the materials for writing anything like a
full account of the civilization or political organization during the
Bronze Age do not exist; and even the ethnological affinities of the
dominant race that inhabited Ireland during this period are doubtful.
All that can be said is that there was apparently no gap between the
end of the Neolithic Period and the transitional Copper to Bronze
Period. Stone weapons continued in use side by side with those of
copper and bronze; and the form of the former was sometimes actually
influenced by those of the latter.

There has been so little scientific excavation in Ireland that the
question as to the early burial-customs is surrounded with difficulty;
such evidence as there is points to cremation having been practised
early, as was also the case in Great Britain. Instances show that the
two rites of inhumation and cremation were practised side by side.

In the cairn excavated on Belmore Mountain, County Fermanagh, both
burnt and unburnt interments were found with pottery and other objects
of early Bronze-Age type.[1] At a recent excavation near Naas, County
Kildare, a burnt interment was discovered in a cist, the remains being
associated with a wrist-bracer and remains of pottery.[2] In the fine
series of cairns on Carrowkeel Mountain, County Sligo, burnt and
unburnt interments were found associated with pottery, bone
implements, and stone beads.[3] At Annaghkeen, County Galway, a
cremated burial was discovered in a cist associated with pottery and a
small bronze knife-dagger and awl.[4]

 [1] Proc. Royal Irish Academy, vol. xx, p. 659.

 [2] Proc. Royal Irish Academy, vol. xxx, p. 351.

 [3] Proc. Royal Irish Academy, vol. xxix, p. 311.

 [4] Journal Galway Archæological and Historical Society, vol. v, p. 159.

The Hon. John Abercromby gives a list of food-vessels found with
cremated burials in Ireland, and to these must be added a food-vessel
of early type found in 1912 in a quarry at Crumlin, County Dublin. It
must, however, be left for future excavations to decide many questions
to which at present no answer, or only a doubtful one, can be given.
This, however, is certain--Ireland during the Bronze Age was not
isolated, but stood in direct communication with the Continent. Ægean
and Scandinavian influences can be detected in the great tumuli of the
New Grange group[5]; and Iberian influence is discernible in some of
the later types of bronze implements. Ireland, as will be shown in the
chapters dealing directly with the gold objects, was, during the
Bronze Age, a kind of western El Dorado, owing to her great richness
in gold; Irish gold ornaments have been found both on the Continent
and in Scandinavia; while Scandinavian amber has been found in
Ireland. As will be seen on p. 81, the Bronze-Age people were
acquainted with the art of weaving; and fine ornaments of horse-hair
were sometimes used. The art of making pottery by hand was carried to
a high degree of excellence. Shaving must have been fairly common,
judging by the number of bronze razors found. We shall find evidence
further on in this work to show that corn was probably grown and
agriculture fairly advanced.

 [5] "New Grange and other Incised Tumuli in Ireland," p. 62.

The great tumuli at New Grange and the lesser ones at Carrowkeel show
that the art of building was well developed, and that the religious
ideals of the people had attained a certain fixed form. What the
actual dwellings occupied by the people were we cannot say; but it is
probable that many of the promontory-forts and some at least of the
larger cashels and ring-forts date back to this period. There remain,
however, many questions which, as we have said, must be kept over for
future investigations.


Some discussion as to the absolute chronology of the Bronze Age in
Ireland will, no doubt, be expected, though any attempts to give
actual dates can only be approximate; the succession of types is
really of considerably more importance than the actual date, as such
a succession enables objects, finds, and interments to be arranged
in a progressive series, and shows the general trend of advance and
culture. The doyen of prehistoric archæology, Dr. Oscar Montelius,
of Stockholm, has been the pioneer of the study of the prehistoric
chronology of Europe, his chronology of the Bronze Age in Scandinavia
having been published as far back as 1885. Since then he has published
the results of his studies of the Bronze-Age chronologies of Greece
and Italy, and of France, Belgium, South Germany, and Switzerland.
More recently (1908) he has put forward the chronology of the British
Islands in a notable memoir published in Archæologia. It may be
mentioned that Dr. Montelius visited Ireland some years ago, and
speaks with the greater authority as having personally examined the
actual Irish evidence.

In this memoir Dr. Montelius divides the Bronze Age of Great Britain
and Ireland into five periods, and includes in his first period the
transitional time when copper was in use (Copper Period), which he
places at from the middle of the third to the beginning of the second
millennium B.C. Now, though the division of the Irish Bronze Age into
five periods may be accepted, we should hardly care to place the first
period as early as Dr. Montelius suggests; and without going into the
question of the time at which the period commenced, we might take the
period of its ending at from about 2000-1800 B.C. In this period would
be included the flat copper celts of early form, copied from the stone
celts of the preceding Neolithic Period, some few small, flat
knife-daggers of copper, and the earliest of the halberds. Stone
implements, no doubt, remained largely in use; and the very finely
decorated hammer-axes probably belong to this period.

It is possible that gold--which, on account of its colour and
appearance on the surface of the ground, must have been one of the
metals first noticed and made use of in prehistoric times--was used
for making ornaments at this period, or possibly, as Prof. Gowland
suggests, may have been hammered into ornaments even during the
preceding Neolithic Age.[6] There is, however, no gold object in the
National Collection which we should care to place so early.

 [6] Journal Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. xlii, p. 259.

The second division of the Bronze Age (the first period of the true
Bronze Age) would fall between 1800 and 1500 B.C.; and in it would be
included, as the principal types, the flat bronze celts--including
those with the edge much wider than the blade--flanged celts, small
bronze daggers, the later halberds, jet buttons with conical
perforations, and the early types of jet necklaces, and probably
the gold lunulæ.

The third period might be placed at from 1500 to 1250 B.C., and the
principal types falling within it are flanged celts with stop-ridges,
tanged spear-heads, and larger dagger-blades, sometimes with bronze

The fourth period, which was long, and during which a considerable
development takes place, might be placed at from 1280 to 900 B.C.
This period includes the later type of celts with increased stop-ridge
and flanges (palstaves), and some of the earlier forms of socketed
celts, long rapiers, the earlier type of leaf-shaped swords, and the
looped and leaf-shaped spear-heads, gold torcs, and possibly some of
the bronze fibulæ, and sickles without sockets; the disk-headed pins
and bronze razors may be placed either at the end of this time or the
beginning of the next period. In this period must also be placed the
building of the great tumuli of the New Grange group.

The fifth division--also a long one--would go from 900 to about 350
B.C., at which time iron weapons were probably coming into general use
in Ireland. In this period would fall the socketed celts, including
the latest type, which takes a form not uncommon among iron or steel
axes, the later bronze swords with notches below the blades, bronze
sword-chapes, the socketed sickles, probably some of the more highly
ornamented bronze spears with apertures in the blades, the bronze
trumpets, the gold fibulæ, and gold gorgets. It must be remembered
that the Continental Hallstatt period is not at present well
represented in Great Britain and Ireland, and though, under Hallstatt
influence, certain Continental Iron-Age types such as bronze caldrons,
trumpets, round shields, &c., found their way into Ireland, we cannot
as yet definitely separate this period from the end of the Bronze



In Ireland the metal first used was copper. Native copper is plentiful
in Ireland, and has been chiefly obtained from the Counties of
Wicklow, Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Tipperary, and Galway. In Waterford
stone implements have been found in copper mines in ancient workings,
showing copper was mined for at an early period.[7] The time during
which copper was in use was probably relatively only a short one, much
shorter than the Neolithic Period or than the true Bronze Age. The
evidence for this period is the large number of flat copper celts
which have been found in the north and south, and east and west, of
the country. The earliest copper celts resemble in form the stone
celts from which they are derived, and were cast in open moulds on one
side only, and then hammered flat on the other. Moulds for casting
celts in this way have been found in Ireland. It is also extremely
interesting to notice that some stone celts betray the influence of
metal types by their form. It may be well here to meet an objection
that has been raised against a special use of copper in Ireland. It
has been urged that the large number of flat copper celts may have
been due to a scarcity of tin, and that as copper cannot be cast in
closed moulds, casters who could cast advanced forms of bronze celts
were obliged to return to the primitive form necessary for casting in
an open mould. Copper ores are, however, very rarely found in a pure
state, and the small impurities of antimony, arsenic, &c., combine in
the smelting with the copper, and lend a hardness and ductibility
which would enable it to be cast in closed moulds.[8] The analyses of
Irish copper celts agree among themselves, and substantially with
those from other countries, the small quantities of tin, antimony,
arsenic, &c., which are found being due to impurities in the ore. The
celts may be taken to be of copper, and not of poor bronze.[9] The
earliest copper celts resemble the stone celts from which they are
derived; some of them are small. A development takes place throughout
the series, the celts becoming larger and the edges thinner as they
approach the bronze forms. No trace of a stop-ridge is ever found on
copper celts.

 [7] Sir R. Kane, Industrial Resources of Ireland. Second edition, 1845,
     p. 189.

 [8] See analysis of a socketed celt of an alloy of copper and antimony
     found at Elbing, West Prussia, Journal Anthropological Institute,
     vol. xxxvi, p. 21.

 [9] See paper "Irish Copper Celts," Journal Anthropological Institute,
     vol. xxxi, p. 265, where the question is fully dealt with.

 [Illustration: Fig. 1.--Copper Halberd, Birr find.]

The principal finds are as follows:--

    1. Three copper celts, three copper awls, and a copper knife found,
    in 1874, in a bog at Knocknague, Kilbannon, County Galway. Purchased
    from the finder, Michael Rafferty, by the Royal Irish Academy. (Fig.

    2. Three copper celts, a fragment of a fourth (butt-end), a copper
    halberd, and a short blade of copper of somewhat similar form, found
    in 1892, near Birr, King's County, formerly in the collection of Mr.
    Robert Day, of Cork. (Fig. 2.)

    3. Three copper celts found in 1868, when ploughing at Cullinagh,
    near Beaufort, Killarney, County Kerry. (Day Collection.)

    4. Two large and well-formed copper celts found together in street
    excavations in Suffolk Street, Dublin, in May, 1857. (Ray
    Collection.) (Fig. 4, nos. 1 and 7.)

 [Illustration: Fig. 2.--Birr find.]

    5. Two copper celts found together at Clontoo, near Kenmare, County
    Kerry, in 1906. (Fig. 4, nos. 2 and 3.)

    6. Six copper celts found together at Cappeen, County Cork.

The distribution, analyses, types, and finds show that the copper
celts represent a period when copper was in common use throughout
Ireland and before bronze was generally known. The celts from the Ray
Collection mentioned above show that the fully developed celt was in
use during this period, while the "Birr find" with the halberd shows
that the halberd was also known and in use during the full copper

 [Illustration: Fig. 3.--Copper Knife and Awls found at Knocknague.]

Moulds for casting flat celts, copper and bronze, have been found in
the following places in Ireland:--Carrickfergus; Ballymena; Loughgall,
County Antrim; Ballynahinch, County Down; and Lough Scur Crannog,
County Leitrim.[10]

 [10] Crawford, "Early Bronze-Age Settlements in Britain," Journal Royal
      Geographical Society, 1912, p. 217.

Copper celts have been found practically over the whole country; and
the following is a list of those in the National Collection, of which
the localities are known, and, as well as these, there are about
eighty for which the provenance has not been exactly recorded:--


    Antrim, Craigbally, 1 (1897: 111).

     [Illustration: Fig. 4.--Copper Celts.]

    Cavan, 1 (R. 1685).

    Cork, Cappeen (6); County Cork, 1 (1881: 136).

    Donegal, Letterkenny, 1 (1897: 114).

    Dublin, Suffolk Street, 1857: 2 large copper celts. (Ray

    Galway, Knocknague, Kilbannon, three copper celts, a copper knife,
    and three copper awls. County Galway, 1. (R. 1660) (Fig. 3.)

    Kerry, Beaufort, Killarney, three copper celts found together in
    1868 when ploughing at Cullinagh. (Day Collection.) Clontoo, near
    Kenmare, two copper celts found together in 1906.

    Londonderry, in the River Bann, near Coleraine, 1. (W. 3.).

    Louth, 1. (R. 362).

    Mayo, Killala, 1 (W. 4.).

     [Illustration: Fig. 5.--Copper celts from Cappeen, Co. Cork.]

    Meath, Dunshaughlin, 1 (172, W.).

    Tipperary, Dundrum, 1 (1881: 133).

    Tyrone, Mountfield, 1 (112: 1897).

    Waterford, Tramore, 1 (W. 10.).

The localities of the following copper celts in other collections are

    Antrim, 3 (Knowles Collection.)

    Cork, 5 (Day Collection, about 4. Evans Collection, 1.)

    Fermanagh, 2 (Day Collection, 1. Evans Collection, 1.)

    Kerry, 3 (Day Collection.)

    Kilkenny, 1 (Day Collection.)

     [Illustration: Fig. 6.]

    King's County, 8 (Birr three, and five others found in the King's
    County. Day Collection.)

    Limerick, 2 (Day Collection.)

    Sligo, 2 (Sir John Leslie's Collection.)


As already stated the Birr find shows that the halberd was in use
during the full Copper Period; and, though to judge by the form of the
celts, we may place it at the end of the period, yet more primitive
types are known, and we may therefore presume the halberd goes well
back into the Copper Period.

The National Collection at Dublin contains forty-nine specimens of
these broad coppery blades. In a few cases there may possibly be a
doubt as to whether they should be classified as halberds or primitive
daggers. The localities of the majority are not known further than
that they have been found in Ireland; but from the known localities
they seem, like the copper celts, to have been found in all parts of
the island; and local distinctions of type, if they existed, are not
now possible.

 [Illustration: Fig. 7.--Halberd blades.]

Of the forty-nine mentioned, twenty have localities as
follows:--Antrim 1, Cavan 3, Roscommon 2, Galway 8, Meath 1, King's
County 1, Queen's County 1, Clare 1, Limerick 1, Cork 1. Seven of
those from Galway represent a single find, which gives that county an
undue proportion.

 [Illustration: Fig. 8.--Halberd blades.]


 [Illustration: Fig. 9.--Halberd blades.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 10.--Halberd blades.]

What may be considered as the developed or normal type of the Irish
halberd blade is slightly but distinctly curved, so that they have
been called "scythe-shaped." They vary from about 9 inches to 15 or 16
inches in length, and from about 3 to 4 inches in breadth at the
widest part; with few exceptions they have three rivets with large
heads. The various sizes are well represented in a find of seven of
these blades obtained in 1888 when making the railway near Hollywood,
County Galway. They were described as having been found about 2-1/2
feet under the surface of a shallow bog "stuck in a bunch in the
ground, with points down. No other relics appeared near them." We do
not think it is any use attempting to place the halberds in a series
of development; and no progression can be claimed for their forms
other than that there appears to be a movement of development from the
smaller straight blades to the larger and curved blades. In one or two
cases the mid rib has been brought to a slight roof-ridge; and a fine
example in the late Sir John Evans' collection shows a well-marked
bead down the mid rib ("Bronze Implements," fig. 331); but in most
cases the mid rib is quite plain with a rounded curve in section.


Analyses of the halberd blades show that the metal of which they are
composed does not differ much from that of the copper celts. A recent
analysis of five specimens is appended which shows that the blades are
practically of pure copper. This is interesting, as it removes the
doubt expressed by Sir John Evans in "Bronze Implements," p. 265, that
"many of these blades have the appearance of being made of copper; but
the absence of tin in their composition has not been proved."

 | |          |       |    |         |        |     |       |     |Bismuth|
 | |          |Copper.|Tin.|Antimony.|Arsenic.|Lead.|Silver.|Iron.| Nickel|
 | |          |       |    |         |        |     |       |     |  Zinc.|
 |1|King's Co.|       |    |         |        |     |       |     |       |
 | |Day Coll.,|       |    |         |        |     |       |     |       |
 | |   No. 25,| 99.02 |0.22|   Nil   |   Nil  | 0.19|  0.26 | 0.04|  Nil  |
 | |          |       |    |         |        |     |       |     |       |
 |2|Antrim,   |       |    |         |        |     |       |     |       |
 | |1903, 235,|       |    |         |        |     |       |     |       |
 | |   No. 9, | 97.31 |0.31|   0.14  |   0.18 | Nil |   Nil | Nil |  Nil  |
 | |          |       |    |         |        |     |       |     |       |
 |3|Galway,   |       |    |         |        |     |       |     |       |
 | | W. 241,  |       |    |         |        |     |       |     |       |
 | |   No. 19,| 98.06 |0.22|   Nil   |   Nil  | 0.58|   Nil | 0.17|  Nil  |
 | |          |       |    |         |        |     |       |     |       |
 |4|Cork,     |       |    |         |        |     |       |     |       |
 | | R. 459,  |       |    |         |        |     |       |     |       |
 | |   No. 7, | 98.30 |0.30|   0.27  |   0.37 | Nil |   Nil | Nil |  Nil  |
 | |          |       |    |         |        |     |       |     |       |
 |5| W. 248,  |       |    |         |        |     |       |     |       |
 | |   No. 28,| 97.24 |0.18|   Nil   |   1.54 | Nil |  0.25 | Nil |  Nil  |

 [Illustration: Fig. 11.--Halberds from North Germany and Sweden after

The manner in which the halberd blades were attached to their shafts
is explained by the bronze halberds with bronze shafts--the blade and
upper part of the shaft often in one piece--from North Germany and
from Sweden. These halberds are referred to an early stage of the
Bronze Age; but they are of bronze, and, in casting and other
features, show a considerable advance on a primitive type; the large
imitation rivets cast in the head of the shaft no doubt represent an
earlier form in which the shaft was of wood and the rivets real. Ten
bronze halberd blades were found together near Stendal in Prussian
Saxony, but without handles, four of which are figured by Montelius in
"Die Chronologie der ältesten Bronzezeit," figs. 115-118. An analysis
of one of the blades gave 15 per cent. of tin and of a rivet 4·5 per
cent. of tin. From the straight mark across the blades, and some
bronze tubular pieces for the handles, there seems no doubt that they
were intended for straight wooden handles, and thus represent the
earlier type. The blades are about 12-1/4 inches in length. It is
important to note that the rivets are of two kinds: some are large and
stout like the usual Irish form; and some have metal washers, like the
solitary example found in Ireland (fig. 7), and which has caused some
authorities to consider the Irish halberd blades somewhat later than
we should care to place them. In general appearance these halberd
blades from Stendal are closer to the Irish halberds than any of the
others which have been found on the Continent, but do not include the
curved or scythe-shaped form common to Ireland. Copper halberds, with
remains of transverse wooden shafts, have been found by the brothers
Siret on the south-east of Spain. In this case they go back to the
very beginning of the bronze age in this district. The form of the
blades is, however, in most cases #T#-shaped, and different from the
Irish examples (fig. 12). Halberds attached to their shafts are also
shown on the prehistoric rock-markings in the "Italian Maritime Alps,"
published by Mr. C. Bicknell. The actual blades, however, that can be
classified with any certainty as halberds are very rare in the North
and Middle Italian districts, though some of the copper and early
bronze triangular dagger forms may have been occasionally mounted as
halberds. It is possible, however, that the decoration of certain
halberds found in Germany may have been influenced by that of the
Italian dagger.

 [Illustration: Fig. 12.--Halberts from South-east Spain.]

The halberd blade can be distinguished from the broad dagger by the
shape of the handle, which is curved or indented in the case of the
dagger, but straight across in the case of the halberd. There is,
however, another point. The hindmost rivets, both in the case of the
blades with four rivets and those with three only, are shorter than
those in front of them. The shortness of the end-rivets and slope of
the heads imply that the handle was rounded off behind the blade, as
would be the case with a transverse shaft. So there appears no room to
doubt the manner in which the long scythe-shaped blades were mounted
on handles, though some uncertainty was formerly expressed on the
subject. The Irish halberd-blades were evidently mounted at right
angles to the shaft in the same way as most of the Continental blades,
as can be seen from the straight-across marks of the handle, which can
be traced on several examples.

 [Illustration: Fig. 13.--Rock Markings, Maritime Alps.]

From the analyses of copper halberds, it will be seen that the tin
varies from ·18 to ·31 per cent. We may therefore conclude that the
copper halberds are simply coarse or unrefined copper from similar
ores to the copper celts; and that the copper implements found in
Ireland may contain up to about ·5 per cent. of tin. An increasing
percentage of tin was not found in any of the copper celts, or,
contrary to expectation, in the copper halberds; but, judging from the
widespread use of copper implements in Ireland, from which it may be
inferred that copper remained in use for a considerable time, it seems
probable that bronze was introduced as an alloy of a known percentage
of tin. As relatively few analyses of Irish bronze implements have
been made, it is not possible at present to come to any fixed
conclusions on the subject of the introduction of bronze into Ireland.

 [Illustration: Fig. 14.--Stone Pick from the Bann.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 15.--Deer Horn Pick.]

Also, in the case of the halberds, the great rarity of any specimens
of bronze blades which can be classified as halberds indicates that
the form of implement practically ceased to be used when bronze came
into use in Ireland. As the copper celts show a gradual transition
from stone to metal forms, it seems reasonable to look for the
prototypes of the copper halberd among the stone implements of the
preceding period. In the Bann Valley many flint wedges or picks have
been found, which may, perhaps, have influenced the copper halberds;
and if a stone pick-like instrument was in use in Neolithic times, it
may explain to some extent the prevalence of the metal halberd in
Ireland in the copper period. When the blades were made larger, the
curved form would come into existence, being suggested by the
deer-horn picks already in use. Copper came into use in Ireland, we
may suppose, in no sudden or violent manner. On the contrary, the
transition from stone was probably of some duration. The use of copper
made its way up through Europe, spreading from the lands of the
eastern Mediterranean along the old trade routes of Neolithic times,
influenced by the search for new deposits of ore. Though at first
implements of copper, and even, perhaps, the metal, might be carried a
considerable distance, an early use of the local ores seems to explain
the case better.

Whether this new knowledge of metal, coming from the eastern
Mediterranean, first crept round by way of Spain, or struck across
the Continent to the north and west of Europe, and so to Ireland, we
cannot at present definitely say; the line of march, as indicated by
the halberds, which are strangely deficient both in the south and the
north of France, seems to point to north Germany and Scandinavia, by
way of the rich ore-fields of middle Europe. But the archæology of the
Peninsula for this early period is at present too uncertain to speak
with confidence. There are indications, even in Neolithic times,
which, perhaps, point to Spain; but, again, there are relations which
indicate a considerable correspondence with Brittany and the North of
France in the early Bronze Age. The late Dr. Much ("Die Kupferzeit,"
p. 131) compared the Irish halberds with the Spanish and German
examples, and came to the conclusion that the Irish halberds were
later than the Spanish and earlier than the German. This view is
supported by the form of the Irish halberds, which are more primitive
in type than the German examples.

Any conclusion as to the probable date when the halberds were in use
in Ireland can only be arrived at in an indirect and approximate
manner. We are, on the whole, inclined to think it is probable that
the Irish halberds were influenced by the Spanish examples; and
Herr Hubert Schmidt, who has worked out in much detail a scheme
of chronology for this period, based upon the Egyptian dating of
Professor Eduard Meyer, places the finds from El Argar at from 2500 to
2360 B.C.[11] Allowing, therefore, some margin on the later side, we
should probably be fairly safe in placing the period when the halberds
were in use in Ireland at the end of the third and beginning of the
second millennium B.C. We must remember that the whole of the Irish
Bronze Age has to be fitted in after the copper period; and if we are
to allow sufficient room for the several periods and their approximate
correspondence with the periods of the Continental chronology, it is
not easy to see how this dating can be much reduced. It may be noted
that Montelius in his recent scheme of Bronze Age chronology for the
British Islands, treats the halberds as bronze, and places them in his
second period (first period of the true Bronze Age) dated from the
beginning of the second millennium to the seventeenth century B.C.[12]

 [11] Prehistorische Zeitschrift, vol. i, 1909, p. 138.

 [12] Archæologia, vol. lxi, p. 162, and pl. xi, fig. 43.



Even during the copper period an evolution can be traced in the celt.
The cutting-edge has been expanded; and the thickest part of the celt
has been moved up from just above the cutting-edge to the centre.
Until, however, we get into the Bronze Age, there has been no trace of
a stop-ridge. When we get into the true Bronze Age, we find a complete
and probably fairly rapid evolution of type from the flat celt to the
final socketed form. Analyses of Irish celts on a large scale have not
been made; but such analyses as have been done do not indicate an
experimental stage of small additions of tin, but rather show that
the bronze from the first contained a fairly large proportion of tin.
Where the tin came from is at present uncertain. The illustrations
will make the evolution of the celt clear. The first step was the
broadening of the cutting-edge, and moving the thickest part up to the
centre of the blade; the next step was hammering the sides to make
flanges to grip the handle more securely; a stop-ridge was then added
to prevent the handle slipping down over the blade; and the latter
forms are reached by increasing the flanges and broadening the
stop-ridge; in its last forms the wings are increased at the expense
of the stop-ridge; and the final socketed form is reached by leaving
out the centre division between the wings. Figure 20 may be noticed,
as it is very similar to certain Continental forms.

 [Illustration: Fig. 16.--Ornamented Bronze Celts.]

 [Illustration: PLATE I. Irish bronze celts in the order of their
                development. _p. 24._]

Some of the earlier flat bronze celts may have been hafted like the
stone celts, by merely fixing the smaller end into a stick with a
thick head; but this method must soon have been abandoned, as after a
certain number of blows had been delivered, the axe-head would be
forced back into the shaft. A more practical method was to place the
head in a handle having a forked head, and the origin of the
stop-ridge was to prevent the two sides coming down too low on to the
blade. The side flanges and palstave-form developed naturally from
this. The manner of hafting the socketed celts is well shown by a
handled socketed celt found at Edenderry, King's Co., and formerly in
the Murray collection. This object is now in the Ethnological and
Archæological Museum at Cambridge; and it is to be regretted that so
rare and important a find should have left the country.

 [Illustration: Fig. 17.--Ornamented Bronze Celts.]

Some of the flat bronze celts are very finely decorated with incised
chevrons, triangles, cross-hatchings, and other Bronze-Age linear
ornament. One example has a kind of herring-bone pattern, somewhat
resembling the well-known leaf-marking at New Grange. Some examples
show a kind of cable-pattern on the side flanges; and the size of
a few specimens is remarkable. A flat celt, with a remarkable
ornamentation from the Greenwell collection found near Connor, County
Antrim, is figured by Sir John Evans, _op. cit._, p. 64. It has a
border of chevrons along the edge of the side; and this is carried
across the celt in the centre and at the commencement of the
cutting-edge. This border is joined by a similar centre band of

Several of the Irish palstaves have a shield-shaped ornament below the
stop-ridge. The socketed celts are, as a rule, unornamented; but there
are a few which have been found in Ireland which are ornamented with
ribs ending in pellets.

 [Illustration: Fig. 18.--Ornamented Bronze Celts.]

The question is often asked as to whether the bronze celts were used
as weapons or tools; and the probability is that they were used as
either as occasion demanded. The celts do not show any marked
difference of type which would enable us to differentiate a weapon
from a tool, as is possible in the later iron axes of the Norman and
Danish period when we can distinguish a heavy axe and a lighter keen
blade. The Bayeux tapestry shows the two types in use, the heavy type
being used to fell trees and the lighter for fighting.

There is one palstave, with double loops, in the National Collection;
and another was found in Ireland at Ballincollig, County Cork, and is
in the Evans collection. These double-looped palstaves are of much
interest, as the type is characteristic of the Iberian peninsula. A
few have been found in the west of France, and some in the south-west
of England, but on the route which one would expect to have been
followed if they are due to intercourse with Spain. These probably
belong to the Middle Bronze Age, though they have not as yet been
found associated with objects which would give much information as to
their date.

 [Illustration: Fig. 19.--Winged Celt.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 20.--Winged Celt.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 21.--Palstave with Double-loops.]


Among objects that may undoubtedly be classed as tools are the small
bronze anvil (fig. 22), and the bronze socketed hammers (fig. 23).

 [Illustration: Fig. 22.--Bronze Anvil.]

The anvil appears to be the only specimen which has been found in the
British Islands, though examples are not uncommon in France. It
resembles the small anvils used by jewellers, and it is interesting to
note that, as M. Déchelette points out, these small bronze anvils
correspond to those mentioned by Homer, which were also portable and
used by goldsmiths.[13] Socketed bronze hammers resembling the Irish
examples are fairly common in England and on the Continent. One
well-known Irish specimen was found in the Douris hoard and is figured
in Evans's "Bronze Implements," p. 179. Of the specimens illustrated,
the largest was found at Abbeyshrule, Co. Longford, the exact locality
of the others, further than that they were found in Ireland, is not

 [13] Déchelette, Manuel d'Archéologie Préhistorique, vol. ii, p. 277.

 [Illustration: Fig. 23.--Bronze Hammers.]


Even as early as the Copper Period small weak knife-daggers were in
use, and these continued into the Bronze Age, becoming the parent of
the spear-head as well as of the rapier and sword. The spear-head was
evolved by decreasing the width of the base of the dagger-blade, and
adding a narrow tang with a peg-hole to fix into the shaft. The
addition of a ferule was the next step; and the omission of the tang,
and amalgamation of the ferule with the blade, gave rise to the
socketed spear-head.

 [Illustration: Fig. 24.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 25.]

The Irish spear-heads may be divided into two well-defined groups,
looped and riveted; and it will be found that the separation of the
types extends farther than the mode of attachment. The form of the blade
of each class is quite distinct. Taking the looped spear-heads first, we
can follow the development of the spear-head from the dagger-blade. The
adaptation is shown in fig. 24 (the centre spear-head), which is, in
fact, a dagger-blade placed on a socket. The socket does not enter the
blade, but is stopped at the shoulders. The #V#-shaped base of the blade
is derived from the dagger, and disappears as the true character of the
spear form is developed. A feature of special interest is the survival
of the rivet-heads of the dagger in the form of ornamental bosses at
the base of the blade. The rivet-holes appear to have been drilled, and
not formed in casting. No examples of this form of spear-head have been
found in England; and but one is recorded from the Isle of Man and two
from Scotland. In the last example (in fig. 24), the imitative rivets
are reduced to a single boss, and completely disappear in the next stage
(fig. 25).

 [Illustration: Fig. 26.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 27.]

In the subsequent figures we see the blade developed at the expense of
the socket; and the transition to the fully developed spear-head
begins. The derivation of this form of spear-head from the so-called
Arreton Down type of tanged blade is now admitted. Though tanged
spear-heads of the Arreton Down type are fairly represented in Irish
finds, no socket has been so far recovered with any of them; but an
early form of nondescript tanged blade with a socket was found at
Lough Ruadh bog near Tullamore, King's County, in 1910, and shows the
socket was known in Ireland.

 [Illustration: Fig. 28.--Leaf-shaped Spear-heads.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 29.]

Another very early type of spear-head, nearly all the known examples of
which were found in Ireland, was derived by mounting the rapier on a
socket (fig. 27). There are six of these spear-heads in the collection
of the Royal Irish Academy, and one in the collection of the Royal
Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. One of these spear-heads, found at
Taplow on the Thames, has gold studs at the base of the blade which,
no doubt, represent the rivets. The derivation of the spear-head by
gradually rounding off the corners of the blade can be easily followed.

 [Illustration: Fig. 30.--Leaf-shaped spear-heads found together at
                the Ford, Belturbet, Co. Cavan.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 31.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 32.]

We will now turn to the spear-heads with rivet-holes in the sockets,
but without loops or openings in the blades (figs. 28 and 30). These
spear-heads are almost invariably leaf-shaped and devoid of ribs. The
pins or rivets used to attach this class to the shaft were probably of
wood, horn, or bone. Two examples formerly in Mr. Day's collection
have rivets of bronze, and others with bronze rivets have been found
in England. The leaf-shaped spear-head is associated by form with the
leaf-shaped sword; the looped type with the older type of weapons, the
dagger and rapier forms. The records of the finds are very incomplete;
but the association of leaf-shaped spears and swords to the exclusion
of the looped form is sufficiently marked to be noted as an additional
piece of evidence.

 [Illustration: Fig. 33.--Ornamental Spear-heads with openings in the

 [Illustration: Fig. 34.--Portion of Spear-head with studs at the base
                of the wings.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 35.]

There are in the Academy's collection a number of spear-heads with
rivet-holes in the sockets and ornamental side-apertures (figs. 33 and
34). These spear-heads are very highly decorated, and form an attractive
class. They may be derived from the spear-heads in which the loops are
joined to the base of the blade (fig. 31), and in which, by a process of
evolution, the loop has been incorporated as part of the wing, or they
may also have been influenced by the early type of tanged spear-heads
from the Greek islands, in which the openings in the blade were
functional, being used for binding the head into a split shaft. These
ornamental spear-heads belong, as a type, to the British Islands, where
the socketed spear-head itself appears to have been evolved. Several of
these spear-heads have, as well as the wings, small holes in the blades,
the purpose of which is not clear. They are very finely cast; and even
in Ireland, where Bronze-Age casting reached its highest point, these
are amongst its best products.

 [Illustration: Fig. 36.--Spear-heads with ornamental openings in the

 [Illustration: Fig. 37.--Spear-head found at Tempo, Co. Fermanagh.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 38.--Half of mould for casting a socketed
                spear-head, Killymeddy, Co. Antrim.]

Another very rare type of spear-head, in which the loops are formed by
the extension of the small ribs on each side of the mid rib, must be
mentioned. These spear-heads are very seldom met with. We only know of
the existence of four, of which one is in the Greenwell collection, two
in the collection of the Royal Irish Academy, and one in the Municipal
Museum at Belfast. The Academy was fortunate enough to secure a very
fine specimen in 1912. It was found with two leaf-shaped bronze swords
at Tempo, County Fermanagh,[14] and measures 15-1/2 inches long (fig.
37). Judging from the associated swords, this spear-head may be dated
about the ninth century B.C.

 [14] Proc. Royal Irish Academy, vol. xxx, sec. c, p. 91.


 [Illustration: Fig. 39.--Half of mould for casting a spear-head and
                dagger, Killymeddy, Co. Antrim.]

The most important moulds for casting spear-heads found in Ireland are
a series for casting early tanged spear-heads which were found about
thirty years ago at Omagh, County Tyrone, and are now in the possession
of Mr. M. J. Sullivan. These moulds are of the greatest importance in
the history of the development of the bronze spear-head, as they show
the evolution of the tanged blade to the socketed form, and also that
the tanged and socketed forms were in contemporary use in Ireland. The
form of the moulds for the socketed spear-heads shows them to be at the
very commencement of this type; and it was probable that the tanged type
was rapidly superseded by the improved socketed form.

 [Illustration: Fig. 40.--Mould for casting spear-head and knife,
                Killymeddy, Co. Antrim.]

These moulds are made of sandstone; and the illustrations will show
them sufficiently. For a full description see the Journal of the Royal
Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, vol. xxxvii, 1907, p. 181.

                COUNTY TYRONE. (Reproduced from the Journal of the
                Royal Society of Antiquaries.)]

                COUNTY TYRONE. (Reproduced from the Journal of the
                Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland.)]

Another very important find of moulds was made in 1910 at Killymeddy,
near Ballymoney, County Antrim. This find included two complete moulds
and a half mould for casting looped socketed spear-heads. Of the other
moulds for casting spear-heads found in Ireland, nearly all are for
the looped type; and the few that have been found for casting the
leaf-shaped type are small and indeterminate in character. It is most
probable that, with the introduction of the leaf-shaped spear-heads,
moulds of clay or sand were introduced; and these have naturally
perished. Fragments of a clay mould for casting a spear-head and a sword
were found at Whitepark Bay, and portions of clay moulds for spear-heads
have been found in Brittany, the Lake of Bienne, and other places. The
discoveries of moulds enforce the distinction of type between the
looped and leaf-shaped spear-heads, and the moulds from Killymeddy
(figs. 38-40 and 43) may probably be placed at the end of the period
when stone moulds were in use, and assigned to about 1500-1200 B.C.

 [Illustration: Fig. 43.--Half of mould for casting spear-head and
                dagger, Killymeddy, Co. Antrim.]


 [Illustration: Fig. 44.--Bronze spear ferules.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 45.--Bronze spear ferule with La Tène ornament.]

From time to time objects of bronze have been found in Ireland of a
curious shape, somewhat like the handle of a door; and their use was
considered uncertain; it is, however, clear that they were the ferules
of spears; and in some cases the remains of the wooden shafts have been
found inside them. The finding, moreover, of one in the Lisnacroghera
Crannog with the whole of the shaft, measuring 8 feet in length,
attached to it, places the matter beyond dispute.[15] It also shows
that these objects were in use down to the early Iron Age, as most of
the objects of the Lisnacroghera find belong to the La Tène period.

 [15] Journal Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, vol. xvi, p. 395.

Other ferules assume a long and graceful shape, and one is decorated
with La Tène motives (fig. 45).



Ireland's extreme richness in gold during the Bronze Age made her
a kind of El Dorado of the western world. The gold was, no doubt,
obtained from County Wicklow, where gold was worked down to the end
of the eighteenth century, nuggets of 22, 18, 9, and 7 oz. being
recorded. One exceptionally large nugget weighing 22 oz., found in
1795 at Croghan Kinshela, Co. Wicklow, was presented to King George
III; and its discovery caused a rush to the workings. As well as
Wicklow there are six other counties where gold has been found. The
very large number of gold ornaments that have been found in Ireland is
therefore not surprising. The ancient literature of Ireland contains
many references to gold ornaments and payments of gold by weight. It
is interesting to note that the tradition preserved in the Book of
Leinster, a MS. of the twelfth century, refers the first smelting
of gold in Ireland to a district in which gold has been found in
considerable quantities in modern times. The Leinstermen, it is
stated, were called "Lagenians of the gold," because it was in their
country that gold was first discovered in Erin. It is further stated
that gold was first smelted for Tighearnmas, one of the earliest of
the Milesian kings, in the forests standing on the east side of the
River Liffey, by Iuchadan, a native of that district.

After the discovery of native gold in Ballinvally stream at Croghan in
1796, the Government undertook mining operations; and in three years
collected 944 ounces worth, at the price of the day, £3,675. Since
the workings were abandoned by the Government, the district has been
worked at intervals by companies, and at other times by the peasants;
the total output since 1795 is estimated at a value of £30,000. The
knowledge of the Irish gold deposits must have been a very
considerable factor in the foreign relations of the island in the
Bronze Age.


The earliest of the Irish gold ornaments are the flat gold collars
known as lunulæ. These have been found fairly evenly distributed over
the country, and in astonishing numbers.

 [Illustration: Fig. 46.--Gold Lunula found at Trenta, Carrigans,
                Co. Donegal.]

The circumstances under which the lunulæ have been found have not
often been recorded. The collection of the Royal Irish Academy in the
National Museum, Dublin, contains no less than thirty-seven examples.
Several of these have been found and recorded during the past three or
four years. As a rule the lunulæ are engraved on one face only with
finely cut or scored well-recognized Bronze Age ornament, consisting
of bands of lines, cross-hatchings, chevrons, triangles, and

The centres of the lunulæ are plain, the exact reason of which is not
quite apparent. The ornament is gathered to the end of the lunula and
spaced out by bands. Two lunulæ found together at Padstow, Cornwall,
are said to have been found with a bronze celt of early type. The find
is preserved in the Truro Museum, and is of the utmost importance as
an indication of the early Bronze-Age date of the lunulæ. It is, we
believe, the only instance of lunulæ being found with associated

 [Illustration: Fig. 47.--Gold Lunula found in Co. Galway.]

Figures 46-49 and 51-53 illustrate the various types of ornament; it
will be noticed that some of the smaller examples are quite plain.

One lunula was found in an oak case at Newtown, Crossdoney, Co.
Cavan. The case has greatly shrunk since it was found, as when first
discovered it measured 10 inches by 8 inches (fig. 50).

 [Illustration: Fig. 48.--Gold Lunula, locality not recorded.]

The two expanded pieces at the ends are always turned at right angles
to the plane of the lunula, and serve to clasp the back of the neck,
and may have been secured by a tie. It need not, however, be pointed
out that they are quite out of place in a head-ornament; indeed, the
geometrical shape of a lunula is contrary to such a theory, and quite
different from recognized diadems or head-ornaments.

 [Illustration: Fig. 49.--Gold Lunula found at Killarney.]

One example found at Volognes has a chain and sort of buckle attached
at the ends. It has since been melted down, but a drawing of it has
been preserved (fig. 51). The chain seems to have been ancient--at
least it is stated to have been on it, as shown, when found; but,
however ancient it may be, it is evident that it was more recently
attached than the original make of the ornament. It is, however, of
interest as indicating at some time a chain-tie to secure the ends of
the ornament.

The accompanying list of finds shows how numerous the lunulæ are in
Ireland and how rarely they have been found outside this island. The
map shows their distribution (fig. 54).

 [Illustration: Fig. 50.--Oak case for Lunula found at Newtown,
                Co. Cavan.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 51.--Gold Lunula found at Valognes, Manche.]

Two have been found in the West Baltic at Zealand and Funen. They have
otherwise hardly penetrated beyond Brittany. One has recently (1912)
been found at Hanover, and another some time ago at Fauvillers,
Luxembourg. This failure to penetrate far beyond the coasts of England
and Brittany may point to early raids; but the copper and tin of
Cornwall, as well as the tin deposits of Brittany and the general
trade with Brittany, may indicate the early seeking of the Irish gold
deposits. We may take as a provisional date for the lunulæ, 1200 to
1000 B.C.

 [Illustration: Fig. 52.--Gold Lunula found in Co. Londonderry.]

Lunulæ now existing or known to have formerly existed:--

IRELAND (62 at least).

 County.       |No.|                  Reference.
 Donegal,      | 2 |  R.I.A. 1889: 20 (1). Trenta, Carrigans. R.I.A.
               |   |    1909: 6 (1). Naran.
               |   |
 Londonderry,  | 2 |  R.I.A. W. 12 (1). R.I.A. (loan 1907: 7) (1).
               |   |
 Antrim,       | 3 |  Dublin Penny Journal, vol. iv, p. 295.
               |   |
 Down,         | 1 |  Castlereagh, Ulster Journal of Archæology,
               |   |    vol. ix, p. 46.
               |   |
 Tyrone,       | 3 |  Trillick, R.I.A. 1884: 495 (1). Carrickmore,
               |   |    R.I.A. 1900: 50 (1). Tartaraghan, Ulster
               |   |    Journal of Archæology, vol. ix, p. 47 (at Cecil,
               |   |    Augher) (1).
               |   |
 Mayo,         | 1 |  R.I.A. 1909.
               |   |
 Sligo,        | 1 |  Windele's Miscellanea, p. 206.
               |   |
 Fermanagh,    | 1 |  Enniskillen (Day Coll.).
               |   |
 Monaghan,     | 1 |  Ballybay (Day Coll.).
               |   |
 Galway,       | 1 |  R.I.A. W. 10 (Sirr Coll.).
               |   |
 Roscommon,    | 2 |  Athlone, R.I.A. W. 5, and 1893: 4.
               |   |
 Cavan,        | 3 |  Newtown, R.I.A. 1884: 494 (1). Bailieborough
               |   |    (British Museum) (1). Lisanover, Bawnboy.
               |   |    1910: 45 (1).
               |   |
 Westmeath,    | 2 |  Ross, R.I.A. 1896: 15 (1). Mullingar, 1884:
               |   |    7 (1).
               |   |
 Kildare,      | 4 |  Dunfierth, R.I.A. W. 4, 8, 9, and 15.
               |   |
 Clare,        | 2 |  Porsoon Callan, R.I.A. 1877: 52 (1). Proc.
               |   |    R.I.A., vol. viii, p. 83 (1).
               |   |
 Tipperary,    | 1 |  Glengall (British Museum).
               |   |
 Kerry,        | 5 |  Banmore, R.I.A. R., 1755, 1756, 1757 (3):
               |   |    R.I.A., Killarney, W. 2 (1). Mangerton (Brit.
               |   |    Mus.) (1).
               |   |
 Cork          | 2 |  Ballycotton (Brit. Mus.) (1), and one or perhaps
               |   |    two in Mr. Cliborn's scrap-book in R.I.A.

In addition to the foregoing there are 16 in the collection of the
R.I.A. and 5 in the British Museum, and about 6 in private
collections, which are known to have been found in Ireland, but of
which the localities have not been recorded.


 Cornwall,     | 4 |  Penzance (1), Padstow (2), Lesnewth (1) (Arch.
               |   |  Journ., vol. xxii, 276).

WALES (1).

 Carnavonshire,| 1 |  Llanllyfni (British Museum).


 Lanarkshire,  | 2 | Southside near Coulter (Anderson, vol. i, p. 223).
               |   |
 Dumfriesshire,| 1 | Auchentaggart (Anderson, vol. i, p. 222).
               |   |
 Elginshire,   | 1 | Fochabers (Cat. Nat. Mus., Scot., p. 210).

 [Illustration: Fig. 53.--Gold Lunula found at Athlone.]


 Côtes du Nord,| 1 | Saint-Potan (Reinach, Revue Celtique, 1900,
               |   |   p. 95).
               |   |
 Manche,       | 3 | Tourlaville (1), Valognes (1) (Reinach, R. C.,
               |   |   1900, p. 95).
               |   | Montebourg (1) (Cong. Arch. de France, 1905,
               |   |   p. 301).
               |   |
 Vendée,       | 2 | Bourneau (1), Nesmy (1) (Reinach, R. C., 1900,
               |   |   p. 95).


 Luxemburg,    | 1 | Fauvillers (Cong. Arch. de France, 1905, p. 302).


 Zealand,      | 1 | Grevinge (A. f. Anth. xix, 9).
               |   |
 Funen,        | 1 | Skogshöierup (A. f. Anth. xix, 9).

 [Illustration: Fig. 54.--Map showing the Distribution of Lunulæ in
                Ireland and Europe.]


 Hanover,      | 1 | Schulenburg (Leine) Springe (1911).



 [Illustration: Fig. 55.--Stone celt, Bronze dagger with gold band,
                and Urn found in Topped Mountain Cairn, Co. Fermanagh.]

As has been mentioned, as well as being parent to the spear-head, the
small weak knife-dagger frequently found in early Bronze-Age burials
also developed into the true dagger-blade, and in course of time into
the sword. Bronze daggers have often been found in Ireland; there are
about forty in the National Collection. Among the most interesting
finds of these early daggers may be mentioned that discovered in 1897
at an interment at Topped Mountain Cairn, County Fermanagh. This
dagger measures 5-5/8 inches, and is covered with a beautiful blue
patina. It is decorated with raised lines on each side of the blade,
and has two small rivets. It was discovered in a cist in the cairn
lying at the right side of the skull of an uncremated body, and in the
same place was a small band of gold which appears to have been half
of a band of that metal which was probably round the handle of the
dagger (fig. 55). Another interesting find is the small bronze dagger
discovered with urns and cremated bones in a cist at Annaghkeen Cairn,
County Galway, in 1908.

 [Illustration: Fig. 56.--Dagger and Rapier blades.]

In course of time the length of the dagger-blade was increased; and
later examples are wonderful specimens of casting. The earlier
daggers were either attached to the handle by rivets, or else notches
were left in the base of the blade for the attachment. The manner of
hafting them is quite clear, as a few hafted examples have been found.
Some had bronze handles cast separately (fig. 56); others had handles
of horn or wood (fig. 57); but the hilts for the most part were made
of some perishable substance, and they have consequently not been
recovered. The scolloped mark left by the hilt is often quite plainly
to be seen on the blade. In later times the handle was sometimes cast
in one piece with the blade; but the division between the handle and
the blade is always quite clearly marked. The decoration of the later
dagger-blades takes the form of a number of triangles at the base of
the blade, and the extreme similarity in decoration between the
Italian and the early northern and western daggers has led Montelius
to consider the latter as derived from the former; and this is
enforced in the case of the Irish examples by the series of small
hatched-triangles which have been found at the base of two well-known
Irish examples (fig. 56).

The rapiers were evolved quite naturally by lengthening the
dagger-blade; and this form was probably influenced also, as will be
mentioned later, by contemporary weapons in use in the Mediterranean

The longest rapier ever found in Western Europe is the splendid weapon
found at Lissane, Co. Derry, in 1867, which measures 30-1/4 inches in
length (fig. 59). Another very remarkable Irish example is the short
rapier found in Upper Lough Erne, and obtained by Mr. Thomas Plunkett,
M.R.I.A., from the finder. This weapon is a wonderfully fine piece of
casting. It measures 16-3/4 inches in length (fig. 58).

 [Illustration: Fig. 57.--Dagger with horn handle found at Ballymoney,
                Co. Antrim.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 58.--Rapier found in Upper Lough Erne.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 59.--Rapier found at Lissane, Co. Derry.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 60.--Rapiers and Daggers found in Ireland.]

The rapiers belong to the middle and later portions of the Bronze Age.
This type of weapon is common in France, and is described by M.
Déchelette as widely spread in the British Islands and the north of
France, and as having been introduced from there into South Germany
and the region of the Middle Rhine.[16] The rapiers of advanced
type he places in the third division of the Bronze Age, as they have
been found in Bronze-Age tumuli of that period, as at Staadorf, Haut
Palatinat (1600-1300 B.C.). Montelius places the rapiers in his fourth
period dated at the end of the fifteenth to the middle of the twelfth
century B.C.,[17] so that his dating of these objects practically
coincides with that of M. Déchelette. It is now well recognized that
the swords of the Ægean-Mycenæan area were developed on parallel lines
to those of Western Europe. We find that the long rapiers or thrusting
swords are developed from the tanged Cypriote dagger, and that the
true sword is a later evolution from the rapier. It is hardly to be
doubted that some of the western forms of daggers and rapiers were
influenced by Mycenæan types; and the discovery in Sicily of rapiers
of Mycenæan type with pottery dated as recent Minoan III, establishes
a direct bond between the Ægean and Western Europe.[18]

 [16] "Manuel d'Archéologie," vol. ii, p. 208.

 [17] "Archæologia," vol. lxi, p. 162, and pl. xv.

 [18] "Manuel d'Archéologie," vol. ii, p. 214.



 [Illustration: Fig. 61.--Gold Gorget found in Ireland, formerly in the
                possession of the Earl of Charleville. From Vetusta
                Monumenta, Vol. v, Pl. xxviii.]

 [Illustration: PLATE II. Irish Gold Gorgets. _p. 62._]

Among the most striking of the gold ornaments in the National Collection
are the five gold gorgets or neck-collars, with the ends decorated with
ornamented disks. These are very elaborately decorated, and of great
massiveness. Two others mentioned as having been found in Ireland,
one of which was formerly in the possession of the Earl of Charleville,
were figured in "Vetusta Monumenta." Vallancey states that another was
found in the County Longford. A few disks have also been found which may
have been portions of these gorgets. The neck-portion of the gorgets is
arranged in three rows of raised ridges, and these are ornamented with
rows of small bosses, the depressions of the ridges being occupied with
a narrow rope-shaped fillet. In some cases the ridges are left plain.
The small disks at the terminals of the collar are remarkable; they
measure about 2-7/8 or 3 inches in diameter, and are decorated with a
centre and side bosses, surrounded with concentric circles. They much
resemble in miniature the round shields or bucklers of the late Bronze
Age, but they also show some resemblance to the so-called sun-disks
which have been found in Ireland, and which will be described later
on. Unfortunately the gorgets have in no case been found with any
accompanying objects which would assist in dating them, and in fact in
only two cases have details as to their finding been preserved, one
found at Ardcroney, near Nenagh, County Tipperary, the other at Tony
Hill, Croom, County Limerick. Their ornamentation, however, would seem
to place them in the Hallstatt period, first Iron Age, which may be
dated at about 700-600 B.C. Their form and ornamentation may be compared
with that of the splendid gold collar from Cintra, Lisbon, now in the
British Museum,[19] and also with the triple bronze collars common in
Scandinavia and north Germany, all of which are referred to the
Hallstatt period. This period is at present not well represented in
Ireland or the British Isles; and it is doubtful whether iron came into
general use in Ireland till about the third century B.C.

 [19] "British Museum Bronze-Age Guide," p. 148.

One point of much interest must be noticed. In one of the gorgets
shown in Plate II, where the disk is attached to the gorget, above
the line where the end of the plate passes into the boss, three
perpendicular and two cross-stitches can be seen. Some of these
sewings are made by means of slight square wire, but in others the
fastenings are composed of fine woollen thread, round which is twisted
spirally a thin, flat strip of gold. These strips are one of the
oldest specimens of woollen cordage now in existence in Ireland.


We have already referred to the flat disks of gold, a number of which
have been found in Ireland. There are four in the British Museum, and no
less than fifteen in the National Collection at Dublin. In four cases
they have been found in pairs--one pair at Ballina, County Mayo, another
pair at Tydavnet, County Monaghan, a third at Cloyne, Co. Cork, and the
fourth at Castle Martyr, Co. Cork. Some of these disks are ornamented
with concentric circles; others have a cruciform ornament which
resembles the four-spoked chariot-wheel, and is a well-known sun symbol.
When these objects were first discovered, their origin and use were
quite unknown; and Mr. Reginald A. Smith, of the British Museum, was the
first to point out their resemblance to the gold disk, decorated with
spirals, affixed to a bronze sun-chariot, found in Trundholm Moss,
Zealand, in 1902. The bronze chariot consisted of a bronze disk mounted
on wheels and drawn by a horse, the gold disk being affixed to the
bronze one. The ornamentation of the Irish disks is somewhat different,
as the spiral does not appear, its place being taken by the concentric
circle. The Trundholm sun-chariot is dated by Prof. Sophus Muller at
before 1000 B.C. The Trundholm disk is admittedly connected with
sun-worship, as is also the cruciform ornament on the Irish disks. The
spoked-wheel is a well-known solar symbol; and similar designs have been
found on the bases of some Irish food-vessels, and may also be compared
with some of the markings at Dowth.[20] The prevalence of sun-worship
in the Bronze Age need not be further gone into here; but the gold disks
are of great interest, as furnishing another point of contact between
Ireland and Scandinavia in the Bronze Age. The finding of Irish gold
lunulæ in Denmark, and the occurrence of Scandinavian amber in Irish
finds of the Bronze-Age, have already been mentioned.

 [20] "New Grange and other Incised Tumuli," p. 59, fig. 39.

 [Illustration: PLATE III. Gold sun-disks. _p. 64._]


We may also mention the large hollow golden balls of which seven are
in the National collection, one in the possession of Mr. H. J. B.
Clements, and another in the British Museum. Eleven of these golden
balls were found in 1834 at Carrick-on-Shannon.[21] There has been
much conjecture as to the use these balls were put to, and it has been
suggested that as their large size would render them inconvenient as
personal ornaments, they were probably used to decorate a horse. If so
they may have been attached to the bridle like the large balls shown
on the horses' bridles in the bronze scabbard from Hallstatt, dated La
Tène I. See Déchelette, "Manuel d'Archéologie," vol. ii, p. 770. The
Golden Peytrell found at Mold, Flintshire, may be instanced to show
that gold was sometimes used to decorate horses; and if the gold balls
were really used for this purpose, we may well endorse what the author
of the "British Museum Bronze-Age Guide" says when he writes: "A
discovery of this kind demonstrates in a striking manner the abundance
of gold at the end of our Bronze period."[22]

 [21] Proc. Royal Irish Academy, vol. xxx, Sec. C, p. 450.

 [22] "British Museum Bronze-Age Guide," p. 150.


Another type of neck-ornaments are the thin gold gorgets with
funnel-shaped ends, many of which were found in the great Clare find.
These gorgets are quite plain, except for a little ornamentation at
the extreme ends near the funnel-shaped extremities. There are five of
these objects in the National Collection, and all were found together
in the celebrated Clare find. This find--the largest collective one of
gold objects ever made in Western Europe--was discovered in making a
railway-cutting for the Limerick and Ennis Railway in 1854. A gang of
labourers were digging near an old hawthorn-bush, a little distance to
the south of the railway bridge in Moghaun north, on the west side of
the line of the great fort, and opposite the lough, when they
undermined a kind of cist. The fall of one of the containing-stones
disclosed a mass of gold ornaments--gorgets, bracelets of all sizes
with cup-shaped ends, and a few ingots of gold. The find, from a
numerical point of view, far surpassed anything ever made, but none
of the objects were highly ornamented or of a special type.

The fact of this immense number of gold ornaments being hidden in
a cist in this way has given rise to many conjectures; but in the
absence of any other explanation, it may be suggested that the objects
had been collected together, and hidden purposely, with the idea of
returning and regaining possession of them later. The value of the
find has been estimated at at least £3,000. Unfortunately, most of the
objects were sold to jewellers and melted down, but a large number
were exhibited at the Archæological Institute by Dr. Todd and Lord
Talbot de Malahide in 1854, and casts of these were taken, and a set
is now in the National Collection. There are also a small number of
the originals in the Royal Irish Academy's collection (Plate IV).
Otherwise such objects of the find as escaped the melting-pot were
scattered, and have found their way into different museums and private
collections. As has been mentioned, the objects of this find did not
show any remarkable types, and for the most part consisted of very
thin bracelets and penannular rings with cup-shaped ends. It is
probable that, as well as being ornaments, they served as a kind of

 [Illustration: PLATE IV. Portion of the great Clare find. _p. 66._]


 [Illustration: Fig. 62.--Gold fibulæ, and other objects found together
                at Coachford, Co. Cork.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 63.--Sixteenth-century bronze casting from Benin,
                showing Europeans holding manillas (after Read and Dalton,
                _Antiquities of the City of Benin_).]

The large number of penannular rings with cup-shaped ends which have
been found from time to time in the island, brings us on to the
general question of the so-called Irish fibulæ. In Ireland penannular
rings with cup-shaped ends of copper or bronze are very rare, only
about half a dozen being known, while fibulæ of gold are exceedingly
common. The Coachford find, in which amber beads, gold fibulæ, and a
copper or bronze fibula were all found together, shows that the
objects were contemporary; and as this find may be placed at the end
of the Bronze Age, it shows that these objects were in use at that
period (fig. 62). On the other hand, it is likely that their use began
earlier and continued for a long period. These objects when made of
gold are of two shapes--in the one case the expanded cups are large
and flat and the connecting bar is bow-shaped, and is striated. These
have been conjectured to have been used as brooches for fastening a
garment; and their form was probably influenced by the Scandinavian
spectacle-brooches, the bows of the latter having, in some cases, the
same decoration. Except for the striations on the connecting link,
the Irish so-called mamillary fibulæ are almost always plain; but
Vallancey has figured two examples, one of which is engraved with
triangular, and the other with lozenge, ornaments. There is also the
well-known example in Trinity College, Dublin, in which the surfaces
of the cups are completely covered with concentric circle ornament,
the inside rims of the cups being decorated with hatched triangles,
and the neckings of what may be called the handle, with chevron and
herring-bone pattern, while along the back of the handle is an
ornament of lozenges. In the second type these objects assume the
shape of a bracelet; and the expanded ends are sometimes cup-shaped
and sometimes plain. From the extreme similarity between the shape of
these, whether in gold or bronze, to the so-called African manillas,
it has been conjectured the Irish examples, like the African, may have
been used as a medium of exchange; and on the whole it seems probable
that such was the case, the dividing line between what were used for
ornaments and what may have been used for exchange not being at all
easily defined (figs. 63 and 64).

 [Illustration: PLATE V. Gold Fibulæ. _p. 68._]

 [Illustration: Fig. 64.--Sixteenth-century bronze casting from Benin,
                showing natives holding manillas (after Read and Dalton,
                _Antiquities of the City of Benin_).]


The question of a medium of exchange leads us to mention the very
small gold penannular rings, the largest being about an inch in
diameter, frequently found in Ireland, which are known as
'ring-money.' There are fifty-six in the National Collection; and a
find made near Belfast of a socketed bronze celt in association with
some of these objects shows they were in use during the late Bronze
Age.[23] Attention has been called to the similarity of these Irish
gold rings to the penannular copper rings plated with gold often found
in early Japanese burials.[24]

 [23] Archæologia, lxi, p. 153.

 [24] See Munro, "Pre-historic Japan," p. 435, fig. 276.

Many attempts have been made to equate the weights of a series of
these rings with some known standard; and in his valuable work "The
Origin of Currency and Weight Standards," Professor Ridgeway devotes
several pages of his Appendix C to a discussion of the subject, and
gives a table of the weights arrived at by grouping the rings in
multiples of 18.

While there can be no reasonable doubt that these objects were used as
a medium of exchange, we are not inclined, in the absence of literary
evidence, to go any further into the question of what standard they
may represent. Some of these rings are evidently forgeries of ancient
times, as they are composed of bronze rings covered with a thin plate
of gold. The rings as a rule are plain; but some are ornamented with
small strips of darker metal let into the gold, and two examples are
twisted like small torcs.

 [Illustration: PLATE VI. Gold Ring-Money. _p. 70._]



A number of leaf-shaped bronze swords have been found in Ireland. They
may be roughly divided into two types, those with notches just below
the blade and above the handle, and those that are plain. The latter
are the earlier, and belong to the late Bronze Age; the former
correspond to the Continental swords of the Hallstatt period. The
leaf-shaped type was the typical Bronze-Age sword of western and
northern Europe. It was developed from the dagger, and, like it, was
a thrusting rather than a cutting weapon. The handle is cast in one
piece with the blade, and has rivet-holes, and in some cases a slit
for the attachment of the hilt, which was no doubt formed of bone or
horn plates. The pommel was probably globular, and formed of lead or
some heavy material. A bronze sword of this type was found in a house
on the Akropolis at Mycenæ by Schliemann, and it can be dated at about
1200 B.C.[25] The discovery of this sword may be explained either as
the result of a raid, or as showing that invaders from the north had
reached Greece as early as this date. A leaf-shaped sword has been
noticed on one of the clay tablets dated as late Minoan II, and in one
of the stone slabs from over the fifth shaft grave at Mycenæ, which
represents a figure in a chariot attacking a man on foot, the latter
is armed with a leaf-shaped sword.[26] In any case it gives us a date
for the period when these swords were in common use in western Europe.
The type with notches below the blade has a tendency to become
straighter at the sides, and to lose its leaf-shaped form. The use
of the notches is not apparent, but it has been thought that the
scabbards at that time were made of wood and were liable to shrink
from exposure to weather, and that this may have prevented the sword
from being thrust home, so that the edge was cut off by the notches
slightly below the handle to avoid cutting the hand. The handle end of
this latter type very frequently assumes a form like a fish's tail.
These swords develop into the iron swords of the Hallstatt period, of
which so far only one Irish example has been found. A bronze sword of
the notched type formed part of the Dowris hoard, and is figured in
the "British Museum Bronze-Age Guide," plate ii. Two remarkably fine
specimens of this type were found in 1912 with a socketed spear-head
at Tempo, County Fermanagh.

 [25] Naue, "Die Vorrömischen Schwerter," pp. 12 and 20.

 [26] See Burrowes, "Discoveries in Crete," p. 183.

 [Illustration: Fig. 65.--Leaf-shaped bronze swords, found with a
                spear-head at Tempo, Co. Fermanagh.]

No moulds for casting leaf-shaped swords of either type have been
found in Ireland; and it is therefore probable that at the time they
were in use sand-casting had replaced casting from stone moulds. The
scabbards of the leaf-shaped swords were made of wood or leather,
protected by a ferule or chape of bronze, which was fastened to it by
rivets; the point of the weapon does not seem to have reached the end
of the sheath. There are several examples of bronze chapes in the
Royal Irish Academy's collection, and they display a considerable
variety of design. Some are long and tubular in shape (fig. 66), while
others are of the winged or boat-shaped type which is found on the
Continent (fig. 67). Others again are of a small and simple type. The
rivet-holes for the attachment of the sheaths can be seen in nearly
all the Irish specimens. The casting of these objects shows a good
deal of skill, as the metal is very thin. The winged variety are
probably the latest, as they have been found with iron swords of
Hallstatt type on the Continent.

 [Illustration: Fig. 66.--Bronze chapes.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 67.--Winged chapes.]


 [Illustration: Fig. 68.--Bronze shield, found at Lough Gur,
                Co. Limerick.]

Two circular shields or bucklers of bronze have been found in Ireland.
There is only one in the National Collection, the fine shield
discovered at Lough Gur, County Limerick. There is, however, a small
shield of bronze ornamented with large bosses in the British Museum
which was found at Athenry, County Galway.[27] These bronze shields
have never been found in the British Islands with any objects which
would give any definite clue to their date; but they are generally
referred to the late Bronze Age. They belong to a common type, being
decorated with numerous bands of small bosses separated by concentric
circles. They appear to have been hammered out.

 [27] "British Museum Bronze-Age Guide," p. 30.

 [Illustration: Fig. 69.--Alder-wood shield, found in Co. Leitrim.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 70.--Front and back of leather shield, found at
                Clonbrin, Co. Longford.]

There are two other shields of great interest in the National
Collection. One is the remarkable alder-wood shield found 10 feet deep
in a bog in 1863 at Annadale, County Leitrim. This shield is oval in
shape, and has a central boss and seven raised ribs. It will be
noticed that the ribs show an indentation at one side; but too much
emphasis must not be placed on this, as the shield shrank a good
deal after its removal from the bog, and the alteration may be due to
this. This shield has a handle at the back. It is interesting to note
that 'sciath,' one of the Irish words for 'shield,' denotes 'alder.'
The next is the leather shield found in 1908 at Clonbrin, County
Longford, and presented to the Royal Irish Academy's collection by
Colonel W. H. King-Harman. This truly remarkable shield, the only one
of its kind in Europe, is made of a solid piece of leather nearly 1/4
of an inch thick, and measures 20-1/2 inches in length by 19-1/2
inches across. It has an oblong centre boss pressed out of the leather
and covered with an ornamental cap of fine leather laced on to it. The
boss is encircled by three ribs, the inner one being gapped, and the
two others having a curious re-entrant angle. The shield has
twenty-four small round bosses on it which resemble those on the
bronze shields. There is a leather handle which was laced on to the
back. This shield appears to be complete as it stands, as there is no
sign of any wooden supports at the back, nor is it easy to see how
such supports could have been attached to it. According to Polybius
round shields of bulls' hide were used by the Roman equites in the
early days of Roman history.

The round shield of the late Bronze Age was succeeded by the oval
shield which may be taken as partly transitional to the oblong shield
of Southern Europe and also of the late Celtic type found in Britain.
The date, therefore, of this Irish leather shield is probably to be
placed in the Early Iron period.



There are twenty-four golden torcs of various types in the National
Collection and one of bronze; but the Irish provenance of the latter
is doubtful.

The best known are the two magnificent gold torcs found in the side of
one of the raths at Tara, and these belong to a type that has been
found in England and France, of which the best known examples are
those found at Yeovil, Somerset,[28] and Grunty Fen, Cambridge.[29] A
torc of this type was also found by Schliemann in the royal treasury
in the second city of Troy. This find has led to a good deal of
speculative opinions varying as to whether the model of the torc was
imported into Ireland from the south, or whether the Irish gold could
have reached the Mediterranean in pre-Mycenæan times.[30] Torcs of
this type were made by folding two thin ribbons of gold along the
middle at a right angle; they were then attached with some kind of
resinous flux, apex to apex, and twisted together. In some cases,
instead of two folded ribbons a flat one and two halves of another
were used, after being fastened together, the twisting being done in
the same way. In some of the Irish examples the body of the torc is
plain, or was grooved to simulate the appearance of the twisted torc.
A peculiar feature of these torcs is the large hooks with which they
are provided. It must be noted that whereas twisted torcs of bronze
are fairly common in England and France there is only one bronze torc
in the Irish National Collection, and, as mentioned above, the
provenance of this is doubtful. The dating of these twisted torcs
is a matter of difficulty, as there are only two instances of their
having been found in association with bronze objects, one in the case
of the Grunty Fen torc which was discovered with three bronze
palstaves, and another found at Fresné la Mère, near Falaise,
Normandy, which was found with a bronze razor and other objects of
bronze. Such evidence as exists, therefore, would place them in the
late Bronze Age, probably somewhere about 1000 B.C., but certain
varieties of torcs, as we shall see, continued in use as late as the
first century. The area of distribution of gold torcs of the Tara type
in Ireland, England and France is very limited, none having been found
in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Holland, or Spain and
Portugal.[31] It has been suggested that the gold of which all these
torcs were composed came from the Wicklow Mountains,[32] and in view
of the extreme wealth of Ireland in gold, as evinced by the number of
gold ornaments which are still constantly found, this may be
considered probable.

 [28] Proceedings Somerset Archæological and Natural History Society,
      vol. lv, 1909, pt. ii, pp. 66-84.

 [29] Cambridge Antiquarian Society's Communications, vol. xii, p. 96.

 [30] Déchelette, "Manuel d'Archéologie," vol. ii, p. 355, note.

 [31] Congrès Archéologique Français, Beauvais, 1905, p. 294.

 [32] Proc. Soc. Antiquaries of London, second series, vol. xxiv, p. 42.

 [Illustration: PLATE VII. Gold Torcs from Tara and elsewhere.
                _p. 78._]

 [Illustration: PLATE VIII. Gold Torcs. _p. 78._]

Among the other types of gold torcs are two splendid examples, one of
which appears to have been prepared for twisting and left unfinished,
while the other is in a complete state (Plate VIII).

Small torcs made by twisting a plain ribbon are fairly common, and
some of these are so small that they must have been used as bracelets.

In later times the torc was the distinguishing ornament of the Celt,
and there are many allusions to torcs in classical writers. In 223
B.C., when Flaminius Nepos gained his victory over the Gauls on the
Addua, it is related that instead of the Gauls dedicating, as they had
intended, a torc made from the Roman spoils to their god of war, the
Romans erected a Roman trophy to Jupiter made from Gaulish torcs.

The name of the Torquati, a family of the Manlia Gens, was derived
from their ancestor, T. Manlius, who, having slain a gigantic Gaul in
B.C. 361, took the torc from the dead body, and placed it round his

The famous statue of the Dying Gaul preserved in the Capitol at Rome
shows a torc on the warrior's neck. This is one of a series of statues
set up by the Greeks of Pergamos to celebrate their struggle with, and
first victory over, the Gauls of Asia Minor, with whom they came in
contact from about 240 to 160 B.C. The twisted torc appears to have
been replaced in Ireland about the second century B.C. by the plain
torc, which was probably introduced from Gaul. The fine gold torc from
Clonmacnois (Plate IX), with La Tène decoration, is a good example of
these torcs, and is almost identical with one from the Marne district
now preserved in the St. Germain Museum. Probably the finest La Tène
torc in existence is that found in the celebrated Broighter find,
which is richly decorated with La Tène ornament (Plate IX, the inner



 [Illustration: PLATE IX. Gold Torcs from Clonmacnois and Broighter.
                _p. 80._]

One of the greatest difficulties to be contended with in any attempt
to arrive at a working chronology for the Prehistoric Period in Ireland
is that, though Ireland had a rich Bronze Age, as attested by the
magnificent collection of objects preserved in the National Collection,
yet in very few cases have any of these objects been found in
association. Excavation carried on under scientific supervision was
practically unknown in Ireland until quite recent years, and though, no
doubt, hoards of associated objects have been discovered in the country,
yet trustworthy particulars as to their finding have hardly ever been
preserved, and the objects themselves have generally been scattered.
Under these circumstances it seemed useful to gather together in the
present chapter an account of the finds--unfortunately very few--in
which associated objects have been discovered, and of which there is
indisputable evidence of their association:--

1. Find of a socketed celt, a gouge, a pin, a razor (the last in a
simple leather case), a portion of a woollen garment, an ornament of
horse-hair, like a tassel, and some pieces of wood. These objects were
found in a bog in the townland of Cromaghs, parish of Armoy, Co.
Antrim, in May, 1904, when cutting turf[33] (Fig. 71, nos. 1-5).

 [33] Proc. Royal Irish Academy, vol. xxvi, Sec. C, p. 119.

2. A find of late Bronze-Age objects discovered in a bog in the
townland of Lahardoun, Tulla, Co. Clare, in May, 1861. The find
contained the following objects:--two small socketed celts, a
disk-headed pin, a plain bronze ring, and a bronze fibula[34] (Fig.
71, nos. 6-10).

 [34] Proc. Royal Irish Academy, vol. xxvi, Sec. C, 124.

3. Find at Mountrivers, Rylane, Coachford, Co. Cork. This find was
made in May, 1907, and contained the following objects:--two socketed
bronze celts, two gold fibulæ, one fibula of copper or bronze, and
eleven amber beads[35] (fig. 62).

 [35] Proc. Royal Irish Academy, vol. xxx, Sec. C, p. 85.

4. Find at Kilfeakle, Co. Tipperary, made in May, 1906, The find
consisted of a bronze socketed celt, a socketed sickle, two chisels,
and a gouge[36] (fig. 74).

 [36] Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland,
      vol. xxxvii, p. 86.

5. Find of moulds for casting primitive spear-heads. This find was
made near Omagh, Co. Tyrone, about 1882, and consisted of seven blocks
of sandstone for casting tanged and socketed spear-heads.[37] (See
page 39.)

 [37] Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland,
      vol. xxxvii, p. 181.

6. Find of moulds made in December, 1910, at Killymeddy, Ballymoney,
Co. Antrim. The find contained two complete moulds for casting looped
socketed spear-heads, and half a mould for a looped socketed
spear-head, a mould for one side of a long dagger-blade, a large mould
for casting one side of a leaf-shaped knife, two halves of a mould
for casting a sickle, eight fragments of moulds, two sharpening
stones, and a stone for hammering or smoothing objects.[38] (See page

 [38] Proc. Royal Irish Academy, vol. xxx, Sec. C, p. 83.

7. Find made at Tempo, Co. Fermanagh. This find was made in 1912, and
consisted of two leaf-shaped bronze swords with notches below the
blades, and a very fine socketed spear-head[39] (figs. 65 and 37).

 [39] Proc. Royal Irish Academy, vol. xxx, Sec. C, p. 91.

8. Two leaf-shaped spear-heads found together at the Ford, Belturbet,
Co. Cavan[40] (fig. 30).

 [40] Proc. Royal Irish Academy, vol. xxx, Sec. C, p. 93.

9. Large hoard found at Dowris, King's Co., about 1825. A small
portion of this hoard, consisting of two bronze trumpets, seven
crotals, five socketed spear-heads, and a socketed gouge, are
preserved in the Royal Irish Academy's collection in the National
Museum. There are other portions of this hoard in the British Museum
and at Birr Castle.[41]

 [41] "British Museum Bronze-Age Guide," p. 28.

10. Bronze socketed celt, large bronze ring, two smaller rings with
lateral-shaped trumpet projections, and a small flat ring all found
together near Glenstal, Co. Limerick, about 1901.

11. Large find of objects, formerly in St. Columba's College
Collection, all stated to have been found together, in 1830, in a bog
at Derryhall, County Antrim. The find comprises fourteen disk-headed
bronze pins of late Bronze-Age type, and two bronze pins, with
cup-shaped heads, a bronze dagger and two bronze knives (one of the
latter being socketed), a socketed celt, nine bronze rings, a bronze
ring with side perforations and a double ring, a bronze fibula with
three beads; also two late brooches, and two late pins, which are said
to have proved part of this find, but whose association with the
remaining objects is very doubtful.

 [Illustration: Fig. 71.--Two Late Bronze-Age Finds.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 72.--Late Bronze-Age horse-hair Fabrics from
                Armoy, Co. Antrim.]

12. Bronze fibula, and twenty-two bronze rings, found together,
about 1876, at Broca, Rochford Bridge, County Westmeath.

13. Socketed bronze celt, bronze fibula, bronze ring, and disk-headed
Bronze-Age pin. All found together at Lapoudin, Tulla, County Clare.

14. Three large, seventeen small, eight double bronze rings, and one
fragment, probably all found together.

15. Bronze fibula, bronze gouge, and three rings, found together, but
locality unrecorded.

16. Six copper celts found together at Cappeen, County Cork.

 [Illustration: Fig. 73.--Bronze Implements, Co. Tipperary.]

17. Seven halberds found together at Hillswood, County Galway.[42]

 [42] Proc. Royal Irish Academy, vol. xxvii, Sec. C, p. 97.

18. Two bronze rings, a small leaf-shaped spear-head, a socketed celt,
and a small gold bulla, said to have been found together in Kinnegoe
bog, County Armagh, in 1840. St. Columba's College Collection.

19. Three bronze trumpets, one in two parts, found in a bog in the
barony of Moyarta, County Clare.

20. Six bronze trumpets, one in two parts, found in a bog close to
Chute Hall, in the townland of Clogher, Clemin, three miles from
Tralee, County Kerry.

21. Two trumpets, one in two parts, probably found together in a bog
at Carrick O'Gunnell, County Limerick. (These are probably two of
those described by Mr. R. Ousley, in the Trans. R.I.A., 1788.)

 [Illustration: Fig. 74.--Bronze Implements found at Kilfeakle,
                Co. Tipperary.]

22. Three trumpets found at Carraconway, near Cloughouter Castle,
County Cavan.[43]

 [43] Wilde's Catalogue of the Royal Irish Academy's Collection, p. 626.

23. Two trumpets found at Macroom, County Cork.

24. Four trumpets found in the bog of Drumabest, Kilraughts, County
Antrim, in 1840.[44]

 [44] _Ibid._

25. Two trumpets found in County Cork. (Londesborough collection.)

26. Two trumpets and a part of a third found together, but locality

27. Two trumpets probably found together, from Trinity College,
Dublin, collection.

28. A socketed bronze celt and gold ring-money found together near

 [45] Archæologia, vol. lxi, p. 153.

29. Four gold lunulæ, found together at Dunfierth, Carbury, County

 [46] "Wilde's Catalogue of Gold Antiquities," p. 18.

30. A large spear-head, a round bronze shield, with a central boss for
the hand, and two circles of smaller bosses, found in a mound or rath,
at Athenry, County Galway.[47]

 [47] Horae Ferales. pl. xi, fig. 1.

With the exception of Nos. 4, 5, 27, and 30, the above-mentioned finds
are preserved in the Royal Irish Academy's collection, in the National
Museum, Dublin.



Numerous trumpets of cast bronze have been found in Ireland, both in
the south and the north. They are rare in Britain. Two or more
trumpets have often been found together; eight were found at
Dungannon, County Tyrone, in 1713, and thirteen or fourteen near Cork
in 1750. The Irish trumpets may be divided into three types--(1) in
the shape of a horn, open at both ends, having the mouth-piece and
trumpet cast in one piece; (2) of similar shape, but closed at the
narrow end, with an aperture for the mouth at the side near the closed
end; (3) also horn-shaped, but with a long straight tube attached to
the narrow end of the carved portion, the upper end of the tube having
four rivet-holes, to which another tube or mouth-piece may have been
fixed. There are references in classical authorities to the trumpets
used by the Celts. Polybius, describing the defeat of the Celts by the
Romans at the battle of Telemon, B.C. 225, speaks of the innumerable
horns and trumpets of the Celts (Gaesatæ, Insubres, Taurisci, and

Dr. F. Behn, of the Mainz Museum, has recently written an account of
the music in the Roman army, in which he has brought together much
information about the early bronze trumpets; and he includes a short
description of the Irish type.[48] The Irish trumpets, which are
furnished with the straight tubular piece, much resemble the Roman
lituus; and, as a whole, the Irish type is very closely allied to the
lituus and carnyx, the difference between the lituus and carnyx being
that the expanded end of the carnyx takes the form of some fantastic
animal's head. Trumpets have been found in the Dowris hoard, with
socketed spear-heads, and other objects of the late Bronze Age, and
they must be dated to that period; on this account the Etruscan
lituus can hardly have been derived from Irish trumpets; so that it is
probable that the Irish trumpets, like those of Gaul, were derived
from the south.

 [48] Die Musik im römischen Heere "Mainzer Zeitschrift," 1912, p. 36.

 [Illustration: PLATE X. Bronze Trumpets. _p. 88._]

 [Illustration: Fig. 75.--Mould for casting a sickle, found at
                Killymeddy, Co. Antrim.]


 [Illustration: Fig. 76.--Bronze sickles.]

Socketed bronze sickles have been found fairly frequently in different
parts of Ireland. Those in the National Collection have generally been
referred to the late Bronze Age. These sickles are all very small, and
it has been thought that the Irish, like the Gauls, cut only the ear
of the corn, and burnt the stalk. A recent find of moulds in County
Antrim contained a mould for casting a sickle without a socket like
the Continental examples, and shows that this type was also known in
Ireland in the later Bronze Age (fig. 75). The bronze sickles have an
important bearing on the question of agriculture in Ireland. An
opinion has recently been expressed that corn was not introduced into
England until the Roman invasion, and was introduced into Ireland even
later than this.[49] However, there are instances of ears of corn
being found within the walls of food-vessels of early Bronze Age date
in Scotland; and it is probable that corn was also grown in Ireland
during the Bronze Age. There is evidence that the ox was domesticated
during this period. The excellence of the metal-casting and the high
degree of skill shown in casting implements and weapons during the
Bronze Age lead us to believe that the civilization, and with the
civilization the art of agriculture and material comfort, had reached
a fairly high level.

 [49] Proc. Royal Irish Academy, vol. xxxi (Clare Island Survey, Part 5).

 [Illustration: Fig. 77.--Bronze sickles.]


 [Illustration: Fig. 78.--Bronze disk.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 79.--Bronze button.]

In the late period of the Irish Bronze Age, bronze pins with
disk-shaped heads having a conical projection in the centre are
fairly common. The disk-heads in many instances are ornamented with
concentric circles and other simple kinds of decoration. They are
bent at right angles to the pin, though in some cases the pin comes
straight from the head. The pins are very long, some measuring as much
as 12 inches. In the very interesting find at Armoy, County Antrim (p.
81), it will be remembered that one of these pins was found together
with a woollen garment, and there is no doubt they were used to fasten
the dress. The fact of a razor being one of the objects of this find
indicates that the pins were used by men, though no doubt they may
also have been worn by women. The use of such long pins seems to point
to the wearing of some kind of cloak-like garment probably fastened
in the front; and the ornamental heads of the pins indicate that they
were worn in a conspicuous place.

As well as the pins a few bronze buttons have been found consisting of
disks with the same conical projection, but having the pin replaced by
a small bar at the back. One remarkable example in the National
Collection measures 4-3/4 inches in diameter (fig. 78). This object
was probably either attached to a leathern belt or possibly may have
been a portion of a horse's furniture. The smaller buttons have been
found on the Continent, and are fairly numerous in the Continental
lake-dwellings or finds of the late Bronze Age.

One is tempted to see in the Irish examples a derivation of the button
from the pin.



 [Illustration: Fig. 80.--Incense cup.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 81.--Cinerary urn.]

 [Illustration: Fig. 82.--Food-vessel with cover, Danesfort,
                Co. Kilkenny.]

In Ireland the pottery of the Bronze Age is principally represented
by the type of vessel known as a food-vessel. We may commence with
these, as there has only been one undoubted find of beakers made: this
consisted of the remains of three vessels found together at Moytura,
County Sligo, and preserved in the National Collection. A beaker is
stated to have been found at Mount Stewart, County Cavan; but the
vessel is not extant, and the evidence as to its discovery is not
perfectly satisfactory. The Irish food-vessel is derived directly
from the round-bottomed vessel of Neolithic times. Some of these
round-bottomed bowls have been found with Neolithic remains at
Portstewart, County Down, and there is one in the National Collection
described as found in a cavern associated with stone implements beside
the moat of Dunagore, near the town of Antrim. The development from
the Neolithic bowl can be clearly traced in the Irish series. The
earliest are flat, almost saucer-shaped bowls, which are generally
covered all over with ornament, and often have a cruciform pattern on
the base which has been thought to indicate that the vessels were
turned mouth downwards when not in use.[50]

 [50] Abercromby, "Bronze-Age Pottery," vol. i, p. 121.

 [Illustration: Fig. 83.--Cinerary urn, Carballybeg, Co. Waterford.]

These bowls have a very pleasing effect; and, as Dr. Abercromby says:
"The small native women, sometimes under five feet high, who made
these little vessels, had certainly a fine sense of form and a
delicate perception of the beauty of curved forms. The care and
precision with which the ornament was effected, and the richness of
the effect produced by simple means, may excite our admiration."[51]

 [51] Abercromby, _op. cit._, p. 121.

 [Illustration: PLATE XI. Food-vessels in the order of their
                development. _p. 96._]

 [Illustration: Fig. 84.--Model of cinerary urn, showing its position
                in cist over burnt bones and small vessel, Greenhills,
                Co. Dublin.]

In the next stage a slight indentation about the centre of the
vessel can be noticed, the ornament being arranged on either side
above and below this; next two small ridges develop out of this, which
are at first close together, but are afterwards placed further apart,
and in the later stages the vessel becomes considerably higher, the
base assuming the form of a cone, and the upper portion having an
everted lip. Some of these latter vessels have a number of small ribs
encircling them. Plate XI shows a series of food-vessels placed in
the order of their evolution. The decoration can be well seen. It
consists for the most part of chevron, herring-bone, and other linear
ornament, but wavy lines can be seen in some examples. In some rare
cases the food-vessels were provided with lids (fig. 82). All of these
vessels were made by hand; and though the baking of the pottery
varies, it was evidently done over a fire.

 [Illustration: Fig. 85.--Cinerary urn, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone.]

The food-vessels, which are found both with unburnt and burnt
interments, continued in use during the greater part of the Bronze
Age, and the name food-vessel is hardly appropriate in Ireland, as in
many cases these vessels have been found containing cremated bones,
having apparently served the purpose of cinerary urns.

The so-called cinerary urns are large vessels which have been usually
discovered containing human bones; they have often been found inverted
over cremated remains. They can be conveniently divided into several
types, of which the type with the overhanging rim may be mentioned
first. In this type the vessel consists of two portions, a lower
flower-pot-like cone, on which is placed a larger truncated cone,
which forms the overhanging rim. This type is widely distributed in
England, and in Ireland has been found in the Counties of Antrim,
Down, and Tyrone. The cordoned or hooped type is developed from the
preceding type by replacing the overhanging rim by a moulding, both
types being contemporary. In the encrusted type the urn, which is of
the flower-pot shape, is decorated with strips of clay in the form of
chevrons and bosses, the ornamentation assuming a rope-like form. Urns
of this type have been found at Greenhills, Tallaght, County Dublin;
Gortnain, Broomhedge, County Antrim; Tullyweggin, Cookstown, County
Tyrone; Closkett, Drumgooland, and Glanville, Newry, County Down.

Very small vessels, of usually about 2 to 2-1/2 inches in height, are
often found in interments associated with the large cinerary urns, and
occasionally, when the latter are inverted, are found inside them. The
exact use of these small vessels, which are called "incense-cups" or
"pygmy-cups," is a matter of speculation; several theories have been
advanced to explain the purpose of placing them in graves, but none of
them are altogether satisfactory.[52]

 [52] See Abercromby, _op. cit._, vol. ii, p. 24, who discusses these
      small vessels at length.

Like the other vessels, they can be divided into different types, of
which some are peculiar to England, and even there confined to
certain counties. In Ireland several of these small cups have
perforated walls, while some have handles. One remarkable specimen
found at Knocknacoura, Co. Carlow, is covered all over with ornament.

In the fine cist discovered at Greenhills, County Dublin, and now set
up in the National Museum, a very remarkable little cup was found
inside the large inverted cinerary urn (fig. 84). The form of this
small cup appears to be originally derived from a metal prototype, and
exactly resembles pottery-vessels of Iron-Age date found in the
cemetery at Marne.



The ornament of the Bronze Age in Ireland consists of chevrons, hatched
triangles, lozenges, etc., combined with some wavy patterns, and later
in some instances with the spirals introduced from Scandinavia,[53]
where this motive had penetrated early from the Ægean along the amber
route. This early type of ornament can be seen on some of the bronze
celts, and also on the pottery, notably the food-vessels, which are
often most tastefully decorated. The ornamentation, however, can be
most fully studied on the inscribed stones in the great monuments of
the New Grange group. These monuments, perhaps the most remarkable in
Western Europe, have justly aroused the interest of generations of
archæologists, and many interpretations have been placed upon their
decoration. Having dealt so fully with this subject in a recent book,
"New Grange and other Incised Tumuli in Ireland," 1912, it is not
proposed to go into the question again, but there are one or two points
that may be noticed.

 [53] See Hoernes, "Jahrbuch für Altertnmskunde," Band vi, p. 163.

The most remarkable feature about the ornamentation at New Grange is
the occurrence of the spiral motive; and it is the presence of this
distinctive motive which has led to so much speculation.

It may be stated at once that the general view at present held by
those who have studied the question is that the spiral was introduced,
and that in the case of Ireland it was derived from Scandinavia.

The similarity between New Grange and the tholos tombs of the mainland
of Greece is so striking that it is at least likely that the former
may have been derived from the latter.

In examining the monument of New Grange, the author had been led by
long study, and the comparison with motives common in the Ægean at
about the same period, to explain the ornamentation, notably in the
cases of the large stones illustrated in the book, p. 75, as derived
from combinations of ornaments commonly found on Ægean pottery, these
motives being themselves connected with the symbolism of sun-worship.
In the case of other markings, it was considered these were possibly
derived from the decoration of certain objects of Scandinavian origin.
In an article in _L'Anthropologie_, vol. xxiii, p. 29, dealing with
the subject, M. J. Déchelette has put forward other views with regard
to the markings at New Grange. M. Déchelette sees in the markings at
New Grange a degenerated copy of the female idols of neolithic times,
carvings of which in a more or less rudimentary form have been found
in the Iberian peninsula, Italy, France, England, and Scandinavia. It
may be mentioned that from the occurrence of carvings of this idol on
sepulchral monuments it is to be connected with funeral rites. M.
Déchelette supports his contentions with a wealth of illustrations
drawn from the tattooed idols of Greece, Portugal, and Aveyron, the
engraved chalk cylinder from Madrid, the incised lines from
Almizaraque, the sculptures from the artificial grottos of Marne, the
vase fragments of Charantaise, the chalk drum from Folkton Wold
(Yorkshire), and the engravings from the dolmens of Locmariaquer.

On p. 43 M. Déchelette gives a scheme of the evolution of the pattern
of the idol, starting from fairly well-defined eyes, eyebrows, and
nose, with chevron marks imitating tattooing. The face becomes
stylized by the substitution of a mere arched line for the eyebrows,
and concentric circles for the eyes, the tattooing marks becoming a
conventional pattern of regular chevrons. In the Irish examples the
spiral replaces the concentric circles for the eyes, and the pattern
below is further enriched by lozenges, and finally we arrive at a form
in which the spiral has an eyebrow above and a single lozenge below,
and this form M. Déchelette compares to the engravings on the slabs at
New Grange. The shield-like figure on the roofing stone of the right
recess at New Grange is compared by M. Déchelette to the engravings on
the dolmen of Pierres-Plates at Locmariaquer, which also appear to be
a stylized form of the idol.

M. Déchelette compares the very remarkable boundary-stone at Dowth,
with the engraving of suns on it, to the vases from Millares, province
d'Almérie, which are ornamented with raised circles, these in their
turn being derived from a degenerate form of the idol.

M. Déchelette applies the same explanation to the scribings at
Gavir'inis, the spiral ornamentation of which is to be regarded as
derived from Ireland.

This very brilliant and original interpretation of the scribings at
New Grange seems to fit the case exceedingly well, and M. Déchelette's
theory may be regarded as a very probable one for the origin of the
markings, but it must be remembered that there is some difficulty
caused by the fact that the similarity in plan between New Grange
and the tholos tombs, as has been pointed out, is too great to be
neglected. Now if New Grange is derived from this source, it cannot
well be placed earlier than 1000 B.C. The idol, on the other hand, is
neolithic in date, and must have survived a considerable time to have
influenced the Irish carvings. It must also be borne in mind that no
other forms of this idol have been met with in Ireland.

       *       *       *       *       *



 Abercromby, Hon. John, 2, 96.

 Amber found in Ireland, 2, 65, 68.

 Annadale, Co. Leitrim, wooden shield found at, 75.

 Annaghkeen, Co. Galway, burial at, 1, 57.

 Anvil and hammers, 27, 28.

 Armoy, Co. Antrim, find made at, 81.

 Athenry, Co. Galway, bronze objects found at, 87.


 Bann, River, Co. Antrim, 21.

 Beakers found in Ireland, 95.

 Belfast, find of gold ring-money and bronze celt at, 87.

 Belmore Mountain, Co. Fermanagh, interment at, 1.

 Belturbet, bronze spear-heads found at, 33, 82.

 Birr, King's Co., celts found at, 7.

 Broighter find, 80.

 Bronze Age in Ireland, chronology of, 3-5;
   1st period of, 23-27;
   finds of, 80-87;
   ornamentation, characteristic of, 101-103.

 Bronze celts, evolution of, 23;
   hafting of, 24, 25;
   ornamentation of, 25, 26.


 Cappeen, Co. Cork, copper celts found at, 8, 85.

 Carraconway, Co. Cavan, trumpets found at, 87.

 Carrick O'Gunnell, Co. Limerick, trumpets found at, 86.

 Carrowkeel, Co. Sligo, interments at, 1.

 Chapes of bronze for swords, 72, 73.

 Chute Hall, Co. Kerry, trumpets found at, 85.

 Cinerary urns, 99, 100.

 Clare find of gold ornaments, 65, 66.

 Clements, Mr. H. J. B., 65.

 Clonbrin, Co. Longford, leather shield found at, 77.

 Clonmacnois, gold torc found at, 80.

 Clontoo, Co. Kerry, copper celts found at, 8.

 Coachford, Co. Cork, objects found at, 68, 81.

 Copper, counties in which obtained, 6.

 Copper celts, list of counties in which these have been found, 10-12.

 Copper Period in Ireland, 6-23.

 Cork, Co., trumpets found in, 87.

 Crumlin, Co. Dublin, urn found at, 2.

 Cullinagh, Co. Kerry, celts found at, 7.


 Daggers and Rapiers, 56-61.

 Déchelette, M. J., 58, 65, 102, 103.

 Disk-headed pins, 81, 92, 93.

 Dowris hoard, 82.

 Drumabest, Co. Antrim, trumpets found at, 87.

 Dublin, copper celts found in, 8.

 Dunfierth, Co. Kildare, gold lunulæ found at, 87.


 Finds of copper celts, 7, 8, 10-12.

 Finds of Bronze-Age implements and weapons, 80-87.

 Food-vessels, description of, 95-99.


 Glenstal, Co. Limerick, find of bronze objects at, 82.

 Gold balls found at Carrick-on-Shannon, 65.

 Gorgets, gold, 62-64.

 Gowland, Prof. W., 4.


 Halberds, 12-23;
   analyses of, 17.

 Hallstatt Period in Ireland, 5, 63.

 Hillswood, Co. Galway, halberds found at, 85.


 Incense cups, 99.

 Irish gold deposits, 46, 47.

 Iron sword of Hallstatt type found in Ireland, 72.


 Kilfeakle, Co. Tipperary, bronze implements found at, 81.

 Killymeddy, Co. Antrim, find of moulds at, 40, 81.

 Kinnegoe bog, Co. Armagh, bronze objects found at, 85.

 Knocknague, Co. Galway, celts found at, 7.


 Lahardoun, Tulla, Co. Clare, find of bronze objects at, 81.

 Leaf-shaped swords, 71-73.

 Lisnacroghera crannog, 45.

 Lissane, Co. Derry, rapier found at, 58.

 Lough Gur, Co. Limerick, bronze shield found at, 74.

 Lunulæ, gold, 47-55.


 Macroom, Co. Cork, trumpets found at, 87.

 Manillas, African, similarity to Irish gold fibulæ, 70.

 Montelius, Dr. Oscar, 3, 23, 58, 61.

 Moulds for casting spear-heads, 39-44;
   absence of, for casting leaf-shaped swords, 72;
   for casting flat celts, 6, 9.

 Mountrivers, Coachford, Co. Cork, find at, 81.

 Moyarta, Co. Clare, trumpets found at, 85.

 Much, Dr., 22.

 Muller, Prof. S., 64.

 Mycenæ, leaf-shaped swords found at, 71.


 Naas, Co. Kildare, excavation at, 1.

 Neolithic pottery found in Ireland, 95.

 New Grange, 3-5;
   ornamentation at, 101-103.


 Omagh, Co. Tyrone, moulds found at, 81.


 Padstow, Cornwall, gold lunulæ found at, 48.

 Palstaves with double loops, 27.

 Penannular rings and ring-money, 67-70.

 Polybius quoted, 77.

 Pottery of the Bronze Age, 94-100.


 Ridgeway, Prof. W., 70.

 Ring-money, 70.


 Schmidt, Herr Hubert, 23.

 Shields, bronze, 74, 75;
   wood, 75;
   leather, 77.

 Sickles, 90, 91;
   mould for casting, 90.

 Smith, Mr. R. A., 64.

 Spain, halberds from, 19.

 Spear-heads, 29-38;
   spear-ferules, 44, 45.

 St. Columba's College, collection, 82.

 Sullivan, Mr. M. J., 39.

 Sun-disks, gold, 64, 65.


 Tempo, Co. Fermanagh, swords found at, 82.

 Topped mountain cairn, find of objects made at, 56.

 Torcs, 78-80.

 Trumpets, 88, 89;
   finds of, in Ireland, 85-87.


 Wicklow, gold obtained from, 46.

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