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Shaw Cairn Bone Knife Pommel

2350 - 1500 BC

This bone pommel is from a Bronze Age knife and dates back to circa 2350-1500 BC.  It is made from a small fragment of long bone from a sheep and would have formed part of a small knife or dagger.  The pommel would have been attached via two metal rivets to an organic handle, possibly wood or antler which would have held a pointed copper alloy (bronze) blade, also attached with metal rivets.

Shaw Cairn is a Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age funerary cairn, consisting of a stone built cairn enclosed by a stone kerb. Cremation burials, many with associated finds of ceramic, bone and flint, were discovered inside the cairn. Original excavations were carried out by amateur archaeologists between 1976 and 1988. 

Grave goods were an important part of Bronze Age funerary practice and while similar knives and daggers have been found in the Wessex graves of the Early Bronze Age its presence in a Greater Manchester grave is quite a coup!