Halberd with copper blade, the butt end concealed by the remains of a wooden haft-grip attached by three thick rivets.
This rare copper halberd was found at the top of a pit located just off-centre within a ring-ditch, part of a barrow cemetery occupying a ridge. The radiocarbon date obtained from the survived wooden handle revealed that the halberd belonged to the same period as the ring ditch (2470–2200 cal. BC).
The halberd is a find of considerable importance as it is only the second from Britain to have been recovered during archaeological excavation. Halberds are a form of weapon, with a dagger-like blade mounted perpendicularly to a long wooden shaft, but use for display is more likely than in conflict, this being a period when society was becoming stratified.
Other information & metadata
Site location: Trecastle, Powys, South Wales
Project type: Archaeological excavation
Site type: Multiperiod site
Discovery context: Pit
Chalcolithic (“Copper Age”) halberd from Trecastell, Powys – website article
Timeline: The Archaeology of South Wales Gas Pipeline – CA monograph
Archaeological report (PDF, size: 6.4MB)