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.

Palstave, Bronze, looped

Found in County Clare in the 19th century, this Middle Bronze Age (1500-1000 BC) bronze palstave is long and greenish brown in colour. On each face is a shallow semi-circular ending socket and conical ornamentation, with a semi-elipitical loop. Length: 15.6 cm; width (cutting edge): 5cm; width (butt): 2.4 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.


County Clare History: An Introduction
The Bronze Age
Clare Archaeology
National Museum of Ireland: Irish Antiquities Division Collection

Palstave, Bronze, looped, 1881:161

Palstave, Bronze, looped, 1881:161

Palstave, Bronze, looped, 1881:161

Palstave, Bronze, looped, 1881:161
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Photographs appear courtesy of the National Museum of Ireland

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