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Spencer Mills




Location: Georgia
Joined: 06 Dec 2007

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon 06 Mar, 2017 4:55 pm    Post subject: La Tene sword identification         Reply with quote

Hi all!

It has been some years since I have been on the forum so I come seeking advice to anyone who would be kind enough to share it. I am a 39 year old husband, father and huge history nerd. I love studying everything from deep ancestry to material culture to ancient warfare. One of my biggest goals in life was to acquire a few nice artifacts that might represent some small part of my ancestral heritage. Mostly to used as an educational tool for friends and family and to also have a physical connection to a wondrous and incredible ancient past.

All this to say, is that I have finally saved enough funds to recently purchase a Middle La Tene sword from an auction house in Austria. The only provenance is that it have belonged to an older private German collection and that it may have been found in Austria or Hungary but that is uncertain. What I find interesting is the overall length being 39 inches and the use of a bronze scabbard instead of iron. However, only the front plate of the scabbard survived and includes some simple motif at the top. For some reason I thought that the longer La Tene swords were more common in Northwestern Europe and that bronze scabbards were more often found in Britain. I will include these photos and humbly ask that if anyone would be willing to comment on its possible origin, then I would certainly be grateful.

Thanks everyone for your time and consideration!



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Spencer Mills




Location: Georgia
Joined: 06 Dec 2007

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri 10 Mar, 2017 5:26 am    Post subject: Help identifying La Tene sword         Reply with quote

Update to details of sword, it is actually 37 inches.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: NykÝbing Falster, Denmark
Joined: 03 Sep 2014

Spotlight topics: 15
Posts: 800

PostPosted: Sun 12 Mar, 2017 10:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not a La Tene sword expert, but I just wanted to add this image of different finds of La Tene swords.


Source (click for large image): https://www.tf.uni-kiel.de/matwis/amat/iss/kap_b/illustr/celt_latene_large.jpg

So your type is one with a raised midline and no grooves. Fairly simple un-elaborated guard and the blade ending in a broad point (so not the cut-off type). It seems you can find some comparables to your sword in the early/middle La Tene types given in the image.
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Spencer Mills




Location: Georgia
Joined: 06 Dec 2007

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sun 12 Mar, 2017 10:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the response and info!
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,229

PostPosted: Mon 13 Mar, 2017 10:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That size and blade shape, mid to late la tene, I would say. Thin grooves are rather unique element, so they aren't very useful for dating. Happy
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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: NykÝbing Falster, Denmark
Joined: 03 Sep 2014

Spotlight topics: 15
Posts: 800

PostPosted: Mon 13 Mar, 2017 12:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
That size and blade shape, mid to late la tene, I would say. Thin grooves are rather unique element, so they aren't very useful for dating. Happy


Thanks for this information, Luka.
Can the simpler shape of the guard be used for dating; or it is size and blade shape mostly?
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 2,229

PostPosted: Thu 16 Mar, 2017 12:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, there is no guard... Blade shape and size means it's not an early la tene blade, but mid to late blades were very diverse, so it's hard to date precisely without knowing more about the find, other stuff found in grave etc...
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,190

PostPosted: Thu 16 Mar, 2017 1:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Without provenance it can't be dated any more accurately. We can't even be sure that it is La Tene.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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JG Elmslie
Industry Professional



Location: Scotland
Joined: 18 Jun 2009
Reading list: 28 books

Posts: 255

PostPosted: Thu 16 Mar, 2017 5:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Without provenance it can't be dated any more accurately. We can't even be sure that it is La Tene.


without a clearly identifiable provenance for the excavation, find-place and date, it might be less La Tene, more out of an acid tank 6 months ago...

the more I study items, the less I'm comfortable with half of them. Prudence is critical in this.
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