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Bronze Artefacts

Later Bronze Age c. 1200 - 600 B. C.

Bronze Cauldron

This cauldron dates to the Dowris phase of the Late Bronze Age circa 700 B. C. it was found at Castlederg, County Tyrone, and can be seen in the National Museum of Ireland.  It has a diameter of 56 centimetres.

It is an excellent example of the technical brilliance achieved in sheet-bronze work.  The base is formed from a dished circular plate; above this are three rounds of horizontally placed sheets fastened together by rivets with high conical heads; the uppermost round is formed of two pieces.

The function of the rivets may not be purely decorative; their projecting heads would have collected heat and sped the boiling process.  The gently sloping everted rim is brazed to the body; its lip is rolled over a reinforcing ring and decorated with four rounds of small perforations.

Two heavy fittings, which combine the functions of lifting handles and suspension rings, are securely attached to the rim.  On the outside a tongue curls down from the handle around the marginal ring.  On the inner side of the handle is a heavy-ribbed horizontal collar, perforated for the suspending ring.  This fitting runs on under the rim and becomes two short splayed-out straps riveted to the inner side of the body.

Cauldrons of this type probably originated in the eastern Mediterranean area.  There are about thirty two known examples in Ireland, in various stages of preservation.

Further Reading:

M. Herity and G. Eogan - Ireland in Prehistory London 1977. p.204. Click link to buy from

A. T. Lucas - Treasures of Ireland: Irish Pagan and Early Christian Art, Dublin 1973. fig; 16.


horizontal rule