University of Oxford
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Iron sword with an intrusive? lead-filled iron object

online resource
posted on 2021-10-26, 15:09 authored by Helena HamerowHelena Hamerow
Note on similar pommel in grave 89: \This is the ... ornamented iron sword-pommel; and two more are mentioned which have become decomposed so that it is not possible to speak with certainty about them. But the ornamented ones of graves No. 23 and No. 89 are before us and challenge our candid opinion. This is adverse to their antiquity. Had they been ancient they must have been Roman; and it would have excited no surprise to find a Roman sword in a Saxon grave; but after a very close and careful examination I have no doubt whatever of their being of the period termed Renaissance which commenced in the latter part of the fifteenth century. With this conviction I felt some hesitation as to what course I should take; but I decided that under all circumstances it would hardly be right to suppress anything in a work which has been promised to the public in a full and complete state. Had I myself found such pommels in Saxon graves I should immediately have suspected the honesty of my workmen; I should have thrown them aside and said nothing about them; but these specimens come before us with such apparently authenticating details and stand so prominently in a narrative which is not my own that I felt I could not do otherwise than present both the text and the illustrations as I find them. Nothing is more easy than to embarrass the path of science. In the present case I can only believe either that Mr. Faussett's workmen or some friends in what they may have called a joke placed these pommels in the graves. A knife-handle to be noticed in a future part of this volume is in the same predicament as the pommels. These are trifling exceptions in so large a collection and can in no way be allowed to cast any suspicion upon its general truthfulness or upon the integrity of the ardent collector.- C.R.S.\""Iron sword, length 78.5cm, but extreme tip of tang missing. Max. width of blade 5.2cm. In very solid condition, rather different from rest, possible river find! Clear trace of change of angle where cutting edges slope back. Two breaks, repaired in modern times by patches and rivets. No trace of wooden handle or sheath.X-ray 5Accession number from \Gatty Slip\". SCH had placed this sword in with unprovenanced objects but the drawing from the Inventorium matches the sword shown in Marion Cox's illustration and the X-ray. Must be the same sword minus the \"pommel\" which is listed as lost. – D.H.SCH's description of the sword suggests that not only the 'pommel' but the entire sword may have been planted in the grave as a hoax possibly replacing an original of which only the pommel M 6061 remained. – B.B."


Grave ID

Guilton Grave 56

Object ID


Catalogue Number

M 6202


iron, lead (Sonia Hawkes Material Notes; iron) (Antiquarian Material; iron, lead)

Complete Keyword List (Including Alternatives)

sword pommel, unidentified, intrusive (Sonia Hawkes Keyword; N/A) (Antiquarian Keyword; sword pommel)




National Museums Liverpool


Mayer Collection

Original Collection


Category ID


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    The Novum Inventorium Sepulchrale


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