Bronze Age dagger coming to Lynn on tour

Dr Tim Pestell with the dirk (dagger). Photo : Steve Adams

Dr Tim Pestell with the dirk (dagger). Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

A spectacular Norfolk treasure, which dates back 3,500 years, is coming to King's Lynn on its tour of regional museums.

The 3,500-year-old Rudham Dirk, a ceremonial Middle Bronze Age dagger, was first ploughed up near East Rudham more than a decade ago. Its significance was unknown at that time, and it was taken home as a curio and subsequently used as a doorstop by its finder until it was identified by archaeologists in 2013.

The 1.9kg (4lb) dirk is made from bronze, which is nine-tenths copper and one-tenth tin. About 68cm in length, it is roughly three times the size of a normal Bronze Age dirk and was never meant to be used as a weapon.It was deliberately bent when it was made as an offering to the gods.

Only five others like it have ever been found in Europe – including one at Oxborough, near Swaffham, in 1988, which is now in the British Museum. Dr Tim Pestell, senior curator of archaeology at Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, said: 'The Rudham Dirk is a very special object and a reminder of the mysterious beliefs and practices of our ancestors from over 3,000 years ago.

'Through its display at the museums we hope to bring residents and visitors closer to the remarkable archaeology of our region and stories of our ancient past.'

The tour has been made possible thanks to an Art Fund award of £1,000 to Norfolk Museums Service.

As reported, the Rudham Dirk was bought for Norfolk with grants totalling £40,970 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society.

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Since coming into public ownership, the dagger has been on display at Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery.

It's currently at the Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth, and it will be on display in the foyer of Lynn Museum in Market Street from Thursday, July 30 to August 22.

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