Tayside and Central Scotland

Late Bronze Age weapons discovery hailed as 'find of a lifetime'

Spearhead Image copyright GUARD Archaeology
Image caption The gold-decorated bronze spearhead is one of only a handful found in Britain and Ireland

A gold-decorated Late Bronze Age spearhead and other artefacts uncovered during an Angus excavation have been hailed as "the find of a lifetime".

The weapon was discovered during an archaeological evaluation on land being developed into council football pitches at Balmachie in Carnoustie.

The spearhead was found beside a bronze sword, pin and scabbard fittings.

It is one of only a handful of gold-decorated bronze spearheads ever found in Britain and Ireland.

Image copyright GUARD Archaeology
Image caption A bronze sword was also discovered during the excavation.

The discovery was made in a pit close to a Late Bronze Age settlement that was excavated by GUARD Archaeology on behalf of Angus Council.

GUARD Archaeology's project officer Alan Hunter Blair said: "The earliest Celtic myths often highlight the reflectivity and brilliance of heroic weapons.

"Gold decoration was probably added to this bronze spearhead to exalt it both through the material's rarity and its visual impact."

The archaeologists said the rare survival of organic remains - a leather and wooden scabbard, fur skin around the spearhead, and textile around the pin and scabbard - made the find even more significant.

Image copyright GUARD Archaeology

Mr Blair said: "The hoard of artefacts, which are around 3,000 years old, is the find of a lifetime.

"It is very unusual to recover such artefacts in a modern archaeological excavation, which can reveal so much about the context of its burial."

The excavation also revealed the largest Neolithic hall so far found in Scotland, dating from about 4000 BC.

Angus Council communities convener Donald Morrison said: "It is clear that Carnoustie was as much a hive of activity in Neolithic times as it is now.

"The discoveries made on land destined for sporting development have given us a fascinating insight into our Angus forebears and I look forward to learning more about our local prehistory."

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