Jim Lineen

James Lineen

James Lineen (PhD Candidate)

Spearheads of the Irish Bronze Age

Supervisor: Dr. Katharina Becker and Prof. William O'Brien
Prehistoric Transitions Research Group

E-mail: 109702407@umail.ucc.ie

James Lineen_1


The spearhead is one of the best-known weapon types of the Irish Bronze Age. The adoption of these weapons at different times during the second millennium BC in Europe coincided with the emergence of a warrior identity and a more explicit manifestation of warfare in the archaeological record. Research on Irish spearheads began with important catalogue classifications created by such scholars as William Wilde (1863), John Evans (1881) and George Coffey (1893). Research in the modern era has focused on issues of typology and dating, which provide a framework to understand the changing manufacture and use of these weapons in prehistoric Ireland.

The present study focuses on the contextual aspects of spearhead use and deposition  during the Middle and Late Bronze Age. This requires the creation of a listing catalogue, as no such database exists at the present time. The overall synthesis includes a review of new dating/context information provided by recent discoveries in commercial archaeology. This will provide detail on the range of environments where such weapons have been found, leading to a case-study analysis of different depositional circumstances. The hope is to understand the changing use and perception of these weapons in contemporary landscape contexts, from hunting to warfare, to their symbolic value in military and religious settings.

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