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Dirk (Bronze), Socketed Axehead(S) (Bronze)

Site Name 'Kincardine'

Classification Dirk (Bronze), Socketed Axehead(S) (Bronze)

Canmore ID 81168

Site Number NH91NE 4

NGR NH 9 1

NGR Description Unlocated

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Abernethy And Kincardine
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Badenoch And Strathspey
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Archaeology Notes

NH91NE 4 unlocated

See also NJ01NW 3.

(Socketed axe of Highfield type). 1025. Kincardine, Abernethy, Inverness-shire. - Hoard (?), nothing further known, another axe from the same site is in Kingussie Museum (no. 1141). - Socketed axe, dark green, highly polished with some yellow showing; length 71mm, mouth ca. 22 x 29 mm, cutting edge ca. 42mm. Kingussie Mus. (no reg).

(Socketed axe; Luncarty variant of Gillespie type). 1141. Hoard (?). Socketed axe, mid-green; length ca. 70mm, mouth ca. 22 x 29mm, cutting edge ca. 45mm. Kingussie Museum. Unpublished.

P K Schmidt and CB Burgess 1981

The 1:50,000 gazetteer notes no 'Kincardine' place-name in or adjacent to Abernethy parish.

Information from RCAHMS (RJCM) 29 March 1990.

This group, comprising a dirk and two socketed axes, is said to have been found about 1873 by a Mr Smith, Grantown, under a granite boulder at Kincardine, Abernethy (NH 94 17). There was, apparently, a local tradition that Colonel John Roy Stewart hid his arms and flags there in the aftermath of Culloden; the finder stated that there were the remains of silk cords attached to the loop of the axe-head and believed that it was a relic attached to Colonel Stewart's flagstaff. The group was donated to Am Fasgadh in 1951 by the executors of the late Miss Peace, Grantown-on-Spey, and is now in the Highland Folk Museum, Kingussie under accession number KIGHF: DG 1 (N4).

The small dirk is largely complete, though very worn, and the hilt is damaged. On one face there are two casting faults where the surface is missing. Remains of very dark patina on a bronze surface suggest a water deposit. There are traces of two rivet notches high up on the hilt, and possible remains of another lower down on one side. The hilt is flat and bevelled edges converge to a midrib which extends to the point. The blade is broader at its tip than at the centre. Dimensions: length 117.2mm; width 34.4mm; thickness of butt 3.2mm; thickness of blade 3.8mm. Despite its small size and relatively poor condition, this dirk can be attributed to the Cornacarrow group of Burgess and Colquhoun's Group IV, and compared to an example in the National Museum of Ireland.

It is difficult to assess the significance of this group of material; the apparent association of types of Middle and Late Bronze Age date argues against a formal "hoard" deposit, but in the light of the circumstances of the discovery under a prominent boulder, it is possible that the group could reflect metalwork deposited on more than one occasion in antiquity. The association of the metalwork with Col. John Roy Stewart is intriguing but probably spurious (perhaps reflecting the power of the "45" to sway the heart rather than the mind), while the supposed remains of silk cords doubtless represent further uncritical embroidering of the traditional associations of the place. It is just possible that traces of organic fibres had survived but, equally, in his enthusiasm, the finder may simply have misinterpreted plant fibres (eg fine rootlets) adhering to the metal.

Information from Mr B O'Connor and Mr T Cowie, 10 January 1995.


External Reference (2011)

These objects are in the Highland Folk Museum

Information from the ARCH Community Timeline course, 2011


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