Riches of Clare Exhibition - Power collect, preserve, interpret and display the material culture relating to the history of County Clare, both in the museum building and online,
as an educational resource and a socially inclusive cultural service for the people of Clare and visiting tourists.

Bronze Socketed Spearhead

Found in the River Shannon in the townland of Killaloe, parish of Killaloe, barony of Tulla Lower, during dredging work. Dating to the Late Bronze Age (1000-600 BC) this socketed bronze spearhead has openings on either side near the end of the blade with a circular shaped socket that extends the full length of the object. The blade terminates 7.3cm above the socket-mouth. The object is in a good state of preservation. Socketed spearheads like these were cast in complex moulds with a plug to form the socket, a technology introduced late in the Earlier Bronze Age. Length (spearhead): 20cm; Max width: 4.7cm; Diameter (socket at mouth): 2.8cm; Length (blade openings or loops): 2cm; Max width (blade openings or loops): 5cm.

Weapons were ritually deposited in rivers at a time when the practice of burying the dead with grave goods went out of favour. It has been suggested that these weapons found in rivers are grave goods without a grave. The weapons may have been cast into the river on the occasion of a funeral where the body was disposed of elsewhere, or they may have accompanied a body that was cast into the river. Similar finds of Bronze Age weapons from the River Thames in England were found associated with human skulls.


Clare Places: Killaloe: Historical Background
Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland 1845: Barony of Tulla or Tullagh Lower
Archives in the peat: A treasury of archaeology
The Bronze Age
Clare Archaeology

Bronze Socketed Spearhead, 1934:5687

Bronze Socketed Spearhead, 1934:5687

Bronze Socketed Spearhead, 1934:5687

Bronze Socketed Spearhead, 1934:5687
Click images for high resolution photographs

Photographs appear courtesy of the National Museum of Ireland

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