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Thread: spear shafts

  1. #26
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    Originally posted by KevinT



    Matt do you have a scan of the carving by chance?
    Just done one.
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    Matt
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  2. #27
    Thank you very much Matt. Can you tell where this occurs on the shaft. Is this one spear or two?
    Anyone know of examples of wire wrap occurring just below the socket or elsewhere?

  3. #28
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    Originally posted by KevinT
    Thank you very much Matt. Can you tell where this occurs on the shaft. Is this one spear or two?
    Anyone know of examples of wire wrap occurring just below the socket or elsewhere?
    Your welcome.

    It's two spears but I won't know where the carving occurs until I get to see them myself in May.
    Looking at the one on the right, it may be that the narrow section of the wood at the top is the start of the taper where it goes into a socket?

    Wire wrap? Expensive with no practical value. Why wire wrap for decoration when carving looks better and costs less.
    Why wire wrap to reinforce the socket when leather or rawhide would be just as, if not more, effective?
    Can't think of any period examples but I'll have a look in a couple of books.

    Matt
    Matt
    ERA

    "vae me, puto, concacavi me"

  4. #29
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    I finally sat down to compile the data I have available this weekend. I should have something useful in the next few days. I'm already somewhat surprised by some of the trends.
    Retired civil servant, part time blacksmith, seasonal Viking ship captain.

  5. #30
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    Analysis of Spearheads, Ferrules and Shafts from Migration-Age Anglo-Saxon Burials
    2005, Bruce Edward Blackistone. Material here may be reposted at Anvilfire.com, or at Longshipco.org

    The following is a casual analysis of some 69 spearhead sockets and eight ferrules (butt spikes) found in the following migration age cemeteries: Alton, Hampshire; Worthy Park, Kingsworthy Near Winchester, Hampshire; Bifrons, Northeast Kent; Sewerby, East Yorkshire; and Empingham II, Rutland. A bibliography of sources will be posted at the end.

    A note on accuracy: The majority of these measurements were taken off of half-scale drawings, using calipers, and rounded to the nearest millimeter. English fractional equivalents were rounded (for the most part) to the nearest 1/8th inch. In addition to the possible inaccuracies of this method, it must be born in mind that the erosion of and accretions on the artifacts caused by oxidation and 1500 years of inhumation makes exact measurement somewhat a question of judgement. However, I do think that the sample is large enough, and far ranging enough, that some preliminary conclusions can be drawn.

    Since the initiative for this came from a debate about: How thick were spear shafts? the basic measurement is the outside of the end of the spear socket and ferrule. Where available, I also provided the inside measurement, since the shaft would be no thinner than that. In the books consulted, several of the remaining spearheads and ferrules had some remains of the shaft still extent, and several note that the shaft was flush with the outside of the socket, and inlet to fit the interior of the socket.

    In seven cases we have both the spearhead and the ferrule, and in five of those cases we can estimate the length of the spear shaft. However, two of the others were broken to fit in the grave, and with one possible exception, the others may well have been broken to fit also. (Please note that this is probably a practical consideration, and not a ritual killing of the object, since none of the weapons in the graves, or other grave goods, are mutilated.)

    First, a tabulation of the spear and ferrule combinations, with an estimate of the overall length (Also note that the actual length of the spearhead and ferrule may have been slightly longer, due to loss from corrosion):


    Spear Lengths:

    Alton (Grave 2)

    Head (G2, Ob3a)
    ID
    OD 20mm (3/4)
    L 441mm (7)
    Ferrule (G2, Ob3b)
    ID 12mm (1/2)
    OD 20mm (3/4)
    L 96mm (3 )
    Shaft Length
    L 2.028M (68 )
    LOA 2.365M (79 )
    (Length overall)

    Alton (Grave 45)

    Head (G45, Ob5a)
    ID
    OD 22mm (7/8)
    L 244mm (9 5/8)
    Ferrule (G45, Ob5b)
    ID 10mm (3/8)
    OD 18mm (3/4)
    L(short) 60mm (2 3/8)
    Shaft Length
    L 1.512M (411)
    LOA 1.816M (511)

    Sewerby (Grave 37)

    Head (G37, Ob1)
    ID
    OD 26mm (1)
    L 298mm (11 )
    Ferrule (G37, Ob2)
    ID 18mm (3/4)
    OD 22mm (7/8)
    L 106mm (4 3/16")
    Shaft- shaft was broken, with the ferrule laid alongside the head.

    Sewerby (Grave 45)

    Head (G45, Ob1)
    ID 20mm (3/4)
    OD 26mm (1)
    L 118mm (4 5/8)
    Ferrule (G45, Ob2)
    ID 14mm (1/2)
    OD 20mm (3/4)
    L 118mm (4 5/8)
    Shaft- 775mm (110 ) broken and laid parallel.

    Kingsworthy (Grave 22)

    Head (G22, Ob2.1)
    ID
    OD 22mm (7/8)
    L 262 (8 5/16)
    Ferrule (G22, Ob2.2)
    ID 13mm (1/2)
    OD 17mm (5/8)
    L 67mm (2 5/8)
    Shaft 1.675M (56)
    LOA 2M (66 )

    (Grave 45)
    Head (G45, Ob1.1)
    ID
    OD 21mm (7/8)
    L 212mm (8 3/8)
    Ferrule (G45, Ob1.2)
    ID
    OD 19mm (3/4)
    L 103mm (4)
    Shaft
    L 1.425M (48)
    LOA 1.741M (58 3/8)

    (Grave 50)

    Head (G50, Ob1.1)
    ID
    OD 25mm (1)
    L 317mm (12 )
    Ferrule (G50, Ob1.2)
    ID 15mm (5/8)
    OD 20mm (3/4)
    L 97mm (3 7/8)
    Shaft
    L 1.8M (511)
    LOA 2.215M (73 3/8)
    Note: Spearhead was bent to fit in, or was fit in at a vertical angle and the weight of the backfill bent it over the years. Measurement is with straightened head. This is one case where I feel pretty confident that the entire spear shaft is represented.


    The first thing that struck me is that the ferrules are uniformly smaller in diameter than the spear sockets. This is consistent with using coppiced branches for shafts, using the thicker base part for the spearhead. This would also give the spear better aerodynamic performance in a throw, since stability is increased when the center of gravity is ahead of the center of pressure, and the thinner section of the shaft would have more surface area proportionate to the weight.

    The second factor noticed was the apparent variety of lengths of the spear shafts. In using throwing spears over the years, Ive discovered that they tend to break at the socket, and have frequently reshafted them by the simple expedient of cutting back the shaft to clean wood. The two broken shafts were both from Sewerby, which had three of the four widest spearhead sockets at 26mm. One might conclude that the armed populace of Sewerby had a thing for large, long spears; or at least long enough that you had to break them in two to fit them in the grave.

    Now, this does not mean that we have the exact shape of Anglo-Saxon migration age spear shafts. For all we know they were thick in the middle and tapered in beautiful distal curves towards the spearhead and back towards the ferrule. For all we know, given what one can do with coppiced timber, they had a figure-of-eight knot tied in the middle. However, illustrations from before and after this period depict spear shafts as simple, thin straight lines, and a thin, straight shaft, or one that naturally tapers towards the butt, as the whithy grows, certainly work well enough, and we have (to my knowledge) no evidence to the contrary.

    An overall view of spearhead diameters:

    Of the 69 spearheads, the outside diameters of the sockets broke down as follows:
    16% were about 1 (4 at 26mm, 3 at 25mm, and 4 at 24mm)
    26% were about 7/8 (2 at 23mm, 11 at 22mm, and 5 at 21mm)
    49% were about (28 at 20mm, 1 at 19mm, and 5 at 7mm)
    7% were about 5/8 (3 at 17mm, and 2 at 16mm)
    1% was about (1 at 14mm)

    I was astonished at the number of spear sockets at 20mm (~3/4), to the extent where I went a rechecked the scales I was using. I have not done more than a cursory analysis of the spearhead styles in relation to the socket outside diameter, but they seemed fairly unrelated. Short and wide, long and thin, short and thin and long and wide all could have 20mm sockets.

    Ill post more a little later this weekend.
    Last edited by Bruce Blackistone; 02-18-2005 at 09:46 PM.
    Retired civil servant, part time blacksmith, seasonal Viking ship captain.

  6. #31
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    Raw Data for Spearheads

    If any of you have ExCell spreadsheets, I'll be glad to e-mail the data, as well as the graphs, so that you can play with the data for yourselves. I also hope to post the graphs, and the entire article, on the Longshipco website in the near future.

    My article on forging Anglo-Saxon style spearheads can be found at: http://www.anvilfire.com/21centbs/armor/main.htm .



    Spearheads (Socket diameters)

    (Measurements are in mm.)


    O.D.------- I.D.-------- Item


    26---------16----------Sew G10, Ob1
    26----------------------Sew G37, Ob1
    26--------- 20--------- Sew G45, Ob1
    26---------------------- Bif 215
    25---------------------- Kin G49, Ob3
    25---------------------- Kin G50, Ob1.1
    25---------------------- Kin G97, Ob1
    24---------------------- Alt G16, Ob5
    24---------------------- Kin G83, Ob1
    24---------------------- Bif 211
    24--------- 16--------- Emp G119c, Ob1
    23--------- 17--------- Bif G66, Ob1
    23---------------------- Bif 217
    22--------- 16--------- Alt G34, Ob1
    22---------------------- Alt 42, Ob5a
    22---------------------- Kin G22, Ob2.1
    22---------------------- Kin G81, Ob2
    22---------------------- Kin G87, Ob1
    22---------------------- Bif212
    22---------------------- Bif 214
    22---------------------- Bif 216
    22--------- 16--------- Emp G74, Ob6
    22--------- 16--------- Emp G86, Ob1
    22--------- 16--------- Emp Unstrat
    21---------------------- Kin G24, Ob2
    21---------------------- Kin G45, Ob1.1
    21---------------------- Kin G46, Ob1
    21---------------------- Kin G84, Ob1
    21--------- 16--------- Emp G59, Ob6
    20--------- 14--------- Alt G1, Ob2
    20---------------------- Alt G2, Ob2
    20---------------------- Alt G2, Ob39
    20---------------------- Alt G4, Ob1
    20--------- 14--------- Alt G6 Ob2
    20--------- 14--------- Alt G7 Ob1
    20---------------------- Alt G16, Ob6
    20--------- 14--------- Alt G36, Ob1
    20--------- 12--------- Alt G40, Ob1
    20--------- 14--------- Alt G44, Ob1
    20--------- 18--------- Alt G49, Ob1
    20--------- 15--------- Alt Unas, Ob1
    20---------------------- Kin G33, Ob2
    20---------------------- Kin G71, Ob1
    20---------------------- Kin G79, Ob1
    20---------------------- Kin G94, Ob1
    20---------------------- Bif 213
    20---------------------- Bif 219
    20---------------------- Emp G3, Ob2
    20--------- 14--------- Emp G26, Ob3
    20--------- 10--------- Emp G26, Ob4
    20--------- 14--------- Emp G31, Ob4
    20--------- 14--------- Emp G45, Ob6
    20--------- 13--------- Emp G56, Ob2
    20--------- 14--------- Emp G84, Ob1
    20--------- 14--------- Emp G92, Ob4
    20--------- 14--------- Emp G98, Ob2
    20--------- 13--------- Emp G110, Ob1
    20--------- 14--------- Emp G119b, Ob4
    19--------- 12--------- Emp G75, Ob1
    18---------------------- Alt G1, Ob3
    18--------- 12--------- Alt G45, Ob1
    18--------- 13--------- Emp G35, Ob6
    18--------- 12--------- Emp G36, Ob2
    18--------- 13--------- Emp G196, Ob1
    17---------------------- Kin G44, Ob2
    17---------------------- Kin G95, Ob2
    17--------- 13--------- Emp G104b, Ob1
    16--------- 12--------- Emp G125, Ob1
    14---------------------- Alt G4 Ob2

    Ferrules (Spear Butt Spikes)
    22--------- 18--------- Sew G32, Ob2
    20--------- 12--------- Alt G2, Ob3b
    20--------- 14--------- Sew G45, Ob2
    20--------- 15--------- Kin G50, Ob1.2
    20---------------------- Bif 221
    19---------------------- Kin G45, Ob1.2
    18--------- 10--------- Alt G42, Ob5b
    17--------- 13--------- Kin G22, Ob2.2


    I'll post the bibliography tonight, when I get back to my library.
    Last edited by Bruce Blackistone; 02-22-2005 at 07:24 AM.
    Retired civil servant, part time blacksmith, seasonal Viking ship captain.

  7. #32
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    Thanks for compiling that list Bruce!

    I'm sure it took a lot of time and it is very helpful. I think it does give a very good idea.

    You can easily post Excel raw data as text if you select "Save As" and then "Tab delimited". But getting your second post into Excel is also possible by using saving it as a text file, and then opening it in Excel. Choose "seperate" (fixed width may also work), and then choose "other", fill in "-" in the box, and choose "view double deliminators as one". I use a Dutch version, so somethings may be a bit off.
    Hwere r fuse feorran cwoman
    to am elinge. - Dream of the Rood


    "Ah, Blackadder. Started talking to yourself, I see."
    "Yes...it's the only way I can be assured of intelligent conversation."
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  8. #33
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    Sources for Anglo-Saxon Spear Head Data:

    The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Empinghsm II, Rutland; Jane R. Timby; Oxbow Books, 1996; ISBN 1 900188 15 5

    An Anglo-Saxon Inhumation Cemetery at Sewerby, East Yorkshire; Susan M. Hirst; York university Archaeological Publications 4; Crown, 1985; ISBN 0 946722 02 1

    Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History 11 (Bifrons); David Griffiths; Oxford University School of Archaeology; 2000; ISBN 0 947816 93 3

    The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Worthy Park, Kingsworthy Near Winchester, Hampshire; Sonia Chadwick Hawkes with Guy Grainger; Oxford University School of Archaeology, Monograph No. 59; 2003; ISBN 0-947816-60-7

    An Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Alton, Hampshire; Vera I. Evison; Hampshire Field Club Monograph 4; 1988; ISBN 0-907473-05-9

    These books are really wonderful, and include spearheads with one, two and four rivets/pins/cross-pieces, as well as a wealth of other artifacts, including mail necklaces for women (!).


    Since Viking age spears tend to be thicker and wider, and perhaps longer, I would very much like to see an equivalent analysis of Viking spearheads, and if possible, ferrules and shafts.

    Paul: Thanks for the hint, I'll give it a try next time. Tabbing was all messed up in the preview, so I spent about 20 minutes putting in the dashes.
    Retired civil servant, part time blacksmith, seasonal Viking ship captain.

  9. #34
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    Paul: Thanks for the hint, I'll give it a try next time. Tabbing was all messed up in the preview, so I spent about 20 minutes putting in the dashes.
    I know what you mean. Alignment is big a problem of the forum software. I spend about 5 minutes removing those dashes.
    Hwere r fuse feorran cwoman
    to am elinge. - Dream of the Rood


    "Ah, Blackadder. Started talking to yourself, I see."
    "Yes...it's the only way I can be assured of intelligent conversation."
    - Lord Melchett and Lord Edmund Blackadder

  10. #35
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    Originally posted by Bruce Blackistone
    including mail necklaces for women (!).


    I've got all of those source books but I must have missed that one. Which one did you find that in?

    Excellent data Bruce. Thanks for taking the time so that others don't have to. I'd be interested in having them in Excell format if you wouldn't mind sending them to me at mbtfx@aol.com

    Thanks

    Matt
    Matt
    ERA

    "vae me, puto, concacavi me"

  11. #36
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    Originally posted by Matt Bunker
    I've got all of those source books but I must have missed that one. Which one did you find that in?
    ...mumble, pink book?; mumble... Sewerby? mumble...

    I'll post tonight when I can check my library.

    ...mumble losing track of mumble...

    Excellent data Bruce. Thanks for taking the time so that others don't have to. I'd be interested in having them in Excell format if you wouldn't mind sending them to me at mbtfx@aol.com

    Thanks

    Matt
    Data is winging its electronic way to you, even as we speak; complete with graphs. Enjoy!
    Retired civil servant, part time blacksmith, seasonal Viking ship captain.

  12. #37
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    Originally posted by Matt Bunker
    I've got all of those source books but I must have missed that one. Which one did you find that in?

    Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History 11 (Bifrons)

    I thought it was just a odd artifact, but there's (I think) three of them. If someone had shown up in the Anglo-Saxon Camp the year before, wearing one, we'd have laughed her back to the cars. Foolish us!

    The more they dig (literally) the more we have to challenge our assumptions on ring pins, annular and penannular brooches, Roman coins and hardware recycled as jewelry, and other mysteries.

    Hooowheee! Were havin fun!
    Retired civil servant, part time blacksmith, seasonal Viking ship captain.

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