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.



Spearhead, looped, with fragments

Found in a bog in the townland of Ballycuggaran, parish of Killaloe, barony of Tulla Lower, this Middle Bronze Age (1500-1000 BC) bronze spearhead was found with a fragment of the wooden shaft. The spear or javelin head is excellently preserved. The blade has rounded shoulders and a very prominent mid-rib, which has a slight ridge along its highest point. There are two loops below the base of the blade attached to but not through it. 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: 11.8 cm; length (blade): 7.1 cm; maximum width: 3.1 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.

Ballycuggaran (Baile Ni Chogarain) was the homeland of the O’Cuggarans, who were an important family at the court of Brain Boru. It is situated on Crag Hill on the lower slopes of the Slieve Bernagh Mountains overlooking Lough Derg. On the southern side of Crag is a fort, dating to the early Christian period which was the original home of the O’Briens and the reputed birthplace of St. Flannan. Aoibheal’s Rock, the legendary abode of Aoibheal, fairy queen of the O’Briens, is at the highest point of Ballycuggaran. Great oak woods used to cover the hills at Ballycuggeran but were cut down over the years for burning in the iron furnaces of East Clare and also for shipbuilding.

1930:119

Clare Places: Ballycuggaran Townland, Killaloe Parish
Clare Places: Killaloe Parish
Parliamentary Gazetteer of Ireland 1845: Barony of Tulla Lower
The Bronze Age
Clare Archaeology

Spearhead, looped, with fragments, 1930:119

Spearhead, looped, with fragments, 1930:119

Spearhead, looped, with fragments, 1930:119

Spearhead, looped, with fragments, 1930:119

Spearhead, looped, with fragments, 1930:119
Click images for high resolution photographs

Photographs appear courtesy of the National Museum of Ireland


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