Moulds for large daggers. Unique finds from the Bronze Age Hatvan-Strázsa-hegy tell

János Gábor Tarbay
2019 Acta Archaeologica  
The present study discusses five Bronze Age sandstone casting moulds from the Hatvan-Strázsa-hegy tell (Hungary, Heves County), which have been acquired by the Ministry of Defence Institute and Museum of Military History in the 1990s. One of the moulds is a semi-finished product, showing a negative of a dagger hilt pommel. The other four moulds were suitable to cast large triangular-shaped dagger blades and they can be arranged into two pairs, based on their dimensions and the outlines of their
more » ... e outlines of their negatives. According to macroscopic observations, these finds have been used for a period of time, proving that advanced metallurgy was present on the Strázsa-hegy site during the Rei. Br. A. Besides they provide a chance for an evaluation of these significant objects that do not abound in parallels. The main goal of this paper is to discuss and reconstruct the life-cycle of daggers, based on macroscopic data obtained from the moulds and their parallel finds. MOULDS FOR LARGE DAGGERS FROM THE HATVAN-STRÁZSA-HEGY TELL 7 of provenance. 2 In 2017, I had the pleasure of meeting A. Kassa on the occasion of a new Late Bronze Age metal stray find from Hatvan. Having an enlightening discussion with him on the Bronze Age metallurgy from the vicinity of Hatvan, we have quickly came to the conclusion that the unprovenanced dagger moulds in the MoD IMMH are identical with the moulds that he had found in the Hatvan-Strázsa-hegy years before (Fig. 2, Fig. 4-9 ). Thanks to this coincidence, it was finally possible to carry out a more precise analysis on these finds, in context of their exact provenance. Within this study, the five mould pieces will be published in details and investigated from a technological and typological point of view. In addition to the evaluation of these significant artefacts, the study will focus on the reconstruction of the moulds' and daggers' biography and life-cycles, based on macroscopic data obtained from the moulds from Hatvan-Strázsa-hegy and their parallel finds. THE HATVAN-STRÁZSA-HEGY TELL The Strázsa-hegy is situated in the Northeastern part of present day Hatvan city (Heves County), 175 meters above sea level (Fig. 1) . 3 One of the earliest mention of this Early and Middle Bronze Age site can be found in the 1864 work of Flóris Rómer, who listed "several serpentine stones axes", ceramic sherds and a hollow pyramidlike clay object, based on the report of Mr. Varsányi. 4 In 1876, József Sperlágh excavated several sites in the surroundings of Hatvan, one of them was the Strázsa-hegy tell, where he spent four days between 2 and 5 of August 1876. J. Sperlágh only carried out a field survey with eight workers as excavating was not allowed in the vineyards. This survey resulted minor finds, among them different types of stone tools, a "bronze arrowhead" (dagger), a conical-shaped clay object and ceramic sherds can be mentioned. 5 On 29 August 1876, he donated a handful of artefacts to the Hungarian National Museum (HNM). The description of these objects in the inventory book of the HNM seems to correlate with Sperlágh's report, although only "Hatvan" was recorded as place of provenance. 6 József Hampel, and also Ferenc Tompa mentioned that an urn cemetery was excavated by J. Sperlágh on the Strázsahegy, whose material has been donated to the HNM along with a knobbed sickle and a socketed chisel without loop. 7 These finds were inventoried in the HNM on 27 December 1876. However, the information in the publications and the inventory book are controversial, and it is not entirely clear whether finds from the Strázsa-hegy can be interpreted as grave goods of a cemetery. 8 The years 1934 and 1935 were significant in the research of the Strázsa-hegy site. In these years, F. Tompa carried out his excavations, which were published in the ʻArchaeologiai Értesítő', under the title of Bronzkori 2 NémeTi 1996, Fig. 4 . The M3 motorway runs next to the northern part of the Strázsa-hegy. According to A. Kassa, G. Németi noted incorrectly the site's topographical position. 3 Nováki et al. 2009 , 94. 4 rómer 1864.
doi:10.1556/072.2019.70.1.1 fatcat:4xbo6hfuufccnly4qaoxqnjfpy