MHG7755 - BA Poolewe Hoard, c100m E of Creag an Fhithic


A Bronze Age hoard, known as the Poolewe hoard, consisting of 5 socketed axeheads, 3 rings and a penannular ornament with trumpet terminals.

Type and Period (1)

  • FINDSPOT (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

See also NG88SE 42.

A Late Bronze Age bronze hoard, not earlier than LC8 BC (J M Coles 1962) was found by Hector McIver in May 1877 during peat-digging on high ground, on N side of and overlooking the River Ewe some distance beyond public school at Poolewe. (W Jolly 1880) The contents lay together at a depth of 6' and consisted of 5 socketed axes (1 broken and 2 fragmentary), 3 rings and a penannular ornament with trumpet terminals.
In 1879 most of hoard was acquired by Sir Kenneth McKenzie of Gairloch, who presented penannular ornament to NMAS in 1881 (Acc No: DO 20). One of rings was retained by McIver and is now untraceable, but Coles located remainder of hoard at Conan House, and it is now on loan to NMAS (Acc Nos: L.1958.7-13).
W Jolly 1880; J M Coles 1962; NMAS Loan Card Index.

The hoard was found in peat bog centred at NG 862 805 approximately 100m E of Creag an Fhitich, the "high ground" mentioned by Jolly (W Jolly 1880), but the exact findspot cannot be ascertained. No similar finds have been made since.
Visited by OS (N K B) 15 March 1965.

Hoard, found in 1877 when digging peats at a site on N side of the river Ewe and some distance from Public School at Poolewe. The finder, H. MacIver, kept one object (a ring like one other with a T-shaped section) which is now untraceable.
The hoard comprised: three socketed axes of Sompting type (or variant), two unclassified socketed axes, ring with hollow section and rectangular hole in one side, two rings with T-shaped section (one of them missing), and penannular ornament with trumpet-shaped terminals.
(Socketed axes of Sompting type).
1581. Socketed axe, rough brown surface, cleaned(?), untrimmed, blade hammered, portion of haft inside socket; length 112mm, mouth 30x31mm, cutting edge 70mm, weight 390 gms. NMA (L.1958.8).
1582. Socketed axe, damaged, most of mouth missing, rough brown surface, cleaned (?), untrimmed; length 93mm, cutting edge 63mm, weight 210 gms. NMA (L.1958.10).
(Socketed axe: Roseberry Topping variant of Sompting type).
Socketed axe, rough surface, light brown, flaw underneath loop, trimmed, cutting edge corroded or worn, short haft ribs; length 113mm, mouth 35 x 35mm, cutting edge 59mm, weight 380 gms. NMA (L.1958.7).
(Unclassified socketed axes).
1693. Socketed axe fragment, cutting edge, light brown; cutting edge 69mm, weight 125 gms. NMA (L.1958.9).
1694. Socketed axe fragment, part of mouth missing, rough, porous, light brown; length 56mm, cutting edge 38mm, weight 80 gms. NMA (L.1958.11).
PK Schmidt and CB Burgess 1981.

This hoard has been dated by Matt Knight, NMS, as Earliest Iron Age (800-600BC). A radiocarbon date from a piece of surviving wood of oak or ash from the haft of one of the axeheads was obtained, producing a date of 801-571 BC, calibrated to 2 sigma. This date is the first for any hoard of this phase in Britain. <1> <2>

The hoard is currently on loan to Gairloch Museum (2019). <3>

Sources/Archives (9)



Grid reference Centred NG 8619 8050 (4m by 4m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NG88SE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish GAIRLOCH

Finds (4)

  • DRESS FASTENER (UNKNOWN) (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)
  • HOARD (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)
  • RING (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)
  • AXEHEAD (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC) + Sci.Date

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (2)

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