|Found: Collooney, Co. Sligo, Ireland
Age: middle bronze age
The original dagger is in the National Museum in Dublin, Ireland. It's a typical Irish style dagger, with decorative ribs and hammered in grooves.
The mould is made from soapstone. It's actually the former mould for the palstaves, where I used the backside for casting this dagger. Because of this, I was limited in size, and had to reduce the size of the dagger by around 25%. As even smaller daggers of this type have been found, this is not a problem. During the casting, a fired clay/sand casting funnel is bound on top of the mould to be able to cast the bronze into the mould. This prevents the bronze pulling apart the mould when it shrinks as it cools down. No integrated funnels are found on original stone moulds, so seperate casting funnels have definately been used.
|It took several attempts, and adjustments of the mould to get a complete blade. The mould has yielded two blades so far, of which this is one.|
|The dagger is finished using modern tools. The edges have been hardened and additional decoration lines are hammerin in the first groove next to the midrib. The hilt is made from two halves made from yew, treated with lineoil, and a pommel made from horn. The pommel is attached with wooden pins. The hilt is mainly based on hilt remains from daggers form the Wessex culture of the UK. A dagger with a similar hilt, but different style blade was found in Ireland though, which had wooden hilt plates and a horn pommel as well.|
|The scabbard is also based on Wessex culture daggers, which often had scabbard remains attached to the blades. These sometimes had a wooden core, skin with hair lining inside, wrapping of leather and laterally placed strips of wood at the mouth of the scabbard. The lining and scabbard mouth pieces have been attached with hideglue. The wooden core halves are from hazel, which is the main material used for scabbard cores in the bronze age. The scabbard mouth is made from yew, to match the hilt. The lining of the scabbard makes inserting and removing the dagger much smoother, and prevents the dagger from rattling inside the scabbard.|
|Here is the fully assembled scabbard, with the leather cover glued over the halves, also using hideglue. The leather is there to keep both halves together. While the leather was still wet, decoration was added using a sharp tool. The patterns applied are based on decoration hammered into blades of other daggers from the same period.|
Dagger & scabbard
|Here is the dagger together with the scabbard. This dagger was part of a trade for a reproduction of a bronze age costume, on which the dagger is displayed in the photo.|