Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Co Longford: Archaeological Objects at The British Museum

The British Museum holds 13 items identified as coming from Co Longford, along with one thought to be from either Longford or Kilkenny. The majority of these (7) are assigned to the Bronze Age generally, followed by the Early Bronze Age and the Early Medieval period (3 each). The most common object type represented are flat axes and spear-heads (3 each), followed by socketed axes (2). All 14 items are made of Metal.


Bronze Age: Metal items
Longford
spear-head
WG.1631
Copper alloy socketed spearhead, pegged.

Corlea
socketed axe
WG.1582
Copper alloy socketed axe; cast. Body hexagonal. Five ridges on neck. One haft rib that extends upwards two-thirds of the way to the rim.

Columbleille
spear-head
18630122.850
Copper alloy socketed spear-head, pegged.

Lanesborough
axe
WG.1549
Copper alloy short-flanged axe; cast.

Kenagh
socketed axe
WG.1565
Copper alloy socketed axe; cast. Round mouth with bevelled rim. Cutting edge well expanded and chipped in centre and side opposite loop. Casting seams were hammered down. Haft rib extends to top of rim.

Killashee (Grid ref. N080701)
spear-head
WG.1637
Copper alloy basal-looped, socketed spearhead with wood in socket. Blade: triangular, base angled, low blade ribs.

Killashee
sword
WG.1231
Copper alloy sword. The tang has an unperforated depression and two rivet-holes. The tips of the wings of the butt are slightly beak-like.


Early Bronze Age: Metal items
Between Longford and Granard
flat axe
WG.2435
Copper-alloy flat axe; with a thin, rounded butt. Sides splay gradually from butt to an uneven very worn, slightly rounded cutting-edge. Entire object is covered with a green patina and is very worn.

Ardagh
flat axe
WG.1527
Copper-alloy flat axe; with thin, rounded butt. Sides splay widely to form a large, shallow, rounded cutting-edge. Sides are double-faceted. Entire object is covered with brown patina.

Ballymacormack
flat axe
WG.1533
Copper-alloy flat axe; with thin, rounded butt. Sides splay widely from butt, creating a wide, rounded cutting-edge. Sides are double-faceted. The object is covered with green and brown patina.


Early Medieval: Metal items
Ballymahon
pin
18540714.148
Copper alloy mushroom-headed pin with hipped shank and transverse nicks on upper part.
5thC-10thC

Ardagh
penannular brooch
18980618.190
Leaded bronze penannular brooch, oval hoop, narrows where pin attached, widens to terminals of opposed animal heads; pin-head ribbed.
5thC-6thC


Viking; Early Medieval: Metal item
Cloneen; Shannon, River, river-bank
thistle brooch; penannular brooch
18880719.105
Silver thistle brooch of ball type; brambled spherical terminals with crosses in circles and scrolls on flat side; pin-head similar and rosette.
10thC


The following item is listed in the museum catalogue as coming from either Longford or Kilkenny:
Early Medieval: Metal item
Longford/Kells, Co Kilkenny
mount
19231110.200
Gilt copper alloy cruciform mount; four animals around centre square setting; animal head flanked by interlace at top and bottom; mask on right.
8thC-9thC

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

A Ram in a Thicket



Despite the fact that all the published literature on this piece invariably describes it as a ram, it’s actually a goat … but what’s an ovicaprid between friends? He dates to around 2500 BC and was excavated from the evocatively titled ‘Great Death Pit’ at Ur. He’s one of a pair and the golden tube springing from his neck indicates that he would have originally functioned as support for a table or stand of some description.

This goat is simply a masterpiece of craftsmanship. The original core was created in wood with various pieces of gold, copper, lapis lazuli, limestone, and shell, all attached with bitumen. I do like the symbolic combination of themes around nature and fertility, but I’m particularly enthralled by the fact that is still retains a particular ‘goatyness’ … yes, it works beautifully on the level of symbol, but it is still an exceptional rendition of a feeding goat.