a possible Late Bronze Age weapon sacrifice in Lanarkshire
Late Bronze Age, Weapons, Hoard, Ritual, Conflict
Peelhill Farm, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, UK
Late Bronze Age
The hoard of bronze weapons found in 1961 at Peelhill Farm in South Lanarkshire remains one of the most remarkable discoveries of Late Bronze Age metalwork from Scotland, its importance reflected in the detailed account of the find published by John Coles and Jack Scott in 1963. In the present paper, the contents, location and significance of the discovery are reassessed in the light of more recent approaches to research on hoards. In particular, the renewed investigation provided fresh insights into the use and treatment of the artefacts prior to their deposition, while the local topography may have influenced the choice of location to a greater degree than previously assumed. Radiocarbon dates indicate a likely date in the 9th century BC. Taken together, Peelhill Farm and the related find of metalwork from Duddingston Loch, Edinburgh, comprise the northernmost representatives of a group of weapon-dominated hoards mainly recorded in southern Britain. In view of the bias towards martial equipment in their composition, it is argued that the evidence of unrepaired impact marks, and deliberate damage by bending, breaking and burning, all assume greater significance than hitherto recognised. Taken together with what may be assumed to be intentional placement of the artefacts into a boggy setting, the deposition at Peelhill Farm is interpreted as a weapon sacrifice after a warlike event rather than as a ‘scrap hoard’ as once thought.