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Dr Thomas Boyle Grierson

Spearhead, Dunscore

Period:
Bronze Age
Description:

Found on Springfield Hill, Dunscore, this spearhead from the collection of Dr Grierson has a slender leaf shaped blade, common to those found in the area. From the late Bronze Age, this example has a hollow circular shaft which tapers to an oval shaped tip.

 

The first metalwork

 

Metal working was a complex and lengthy process. A small pit was dug, filled with crushed ore and charcoal, and then ignited. The temperature was raised by using bellows, perhaps made of animal skin. Once smelting had occurred the molten metal collected in a crucible and tipped into the mould. After cooling the casting was removed and hammered to smooth any rough edges.

 

Cutting edges on axe heads would have been sharpened by hammering or grinding. When stone moulds were in use shapes tended to be simple, but about 3,500 years ago multiple section clay moulds were developed which enabled more complicated shapes to be made. Early Bronze Age metal workers used pure copper, but this made objects which were flexible in use and difficult to cast. After a period of experimentation, bronze, an alloy of 90 per cent copper and 10 per cent tin was developed.

 

In Dumfries and Galloway most Bronze Age metalwork has been found on lowlands and in river valleys. The River Nith especially has revealed many finds, perhaps because traders and settlers used it to move between the Solway shores and Ayrshire.

 

Place of Discovery:
Springfield Hill, Dunscore
Materials/Media:
Bronze
Dimensions:
length: 327 mm diameter (aperture): 25 mm length (interior): 224 weight: 300.22 g
Source:
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
DUMFM:1965.669
Digital Number:
RPD0092


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