Riches of Clare Exhibition - Power

...to 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 Spearhead, looped

Found at an unrecorded location in County Clare and dating to the Middle Bronze Age (1500-1000 BC) this small bronze spearhead or javelin head has a sub triangular blade. The socket continues into the blade turning into an angular mid-rib. There are deep triangular depressions on either side of the mid rib. 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: 10.2 cm; length of the blade: 6.5 cm; width of the blade (widest part): 3.2 cm; diameter of the socket at the base: 1.7 cm.

During the Bronze Age metal objects were deliberately deposited in rivers, bogs and lakes. The act of placing these objects, either in hoards or singly, in water and watery contexts was no doubt overtly ritual and may have been linked to events such as births or deaths in the community. Although depositing the metal was a ritual act, political and economic benefits resulted. It is possible that Bronze Age social hierarchies were in part maintained by controlling the exchange of prestigious items such as metalwork. Ritually depositing metal was public display of the destruction of wealth and could be used to build personal status. At the same time, metal was taken out of circulation thereby controlling its supply and value.

P1942: 1780

Social, Economic and Cultural Profile of County Clare
The Bronze Age
Clare Archaeology

Bronze Spearhead, looped, P1942: 1780

Bronze Spearhead, looped, P1942: 1780

Bronze Spearhead, looped, P1942: 1780

Bronze Spearhead, looped, P1942: 1780
Click images for high resolution photographs

Photographs appear courtesy of the National Museum of Ireland


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