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salmon, and perhaps also for the uses for which boat hooks are required. The latter suggestion originated from my possessing two implements made of iron which were discovered at Ballinderry crannog some years ago that were probably employed in this manner (see Pl. XIII., figs. 8 and 9). These iron-hooked implements appear to a certain extent to represent their bronze prototypes, allowing for differences in the material employed for their construction, and their restricted application for a special purpose. Whether this be so or not, it appears desirable to preserve some record of these iron implements which are alluded to in the Transactions of this Academy, as they are the only examples yet discovered in Ireland of similar shaped articles.
I obtained from Sweden, through the kindness of Professor Soderberg, one of the flint-blades which Northern antiquarians consider were formerly used for reaping. It is an admirable specimen of flint manufacture, and perhaps the only example that has yet reached Ireland. Whether intended for reaping or not, it affords a remarkable proof of skilled workmanship in flint, and might be employed for many purposes like an ordinary knife.
Independent of the conjecture that all these forms of bronze curved implements were intended for warfare, and not for the peaceful reaping of grain, it will, I hope, be admitted they may be classified into at least three forms deserving of separate description. It would have added to the force of these remarks if I were able to adduce satisfactory evidence that the culture of grain was unknown in the earlier bronze ages in Ireland. I believe the primitive bronze using races were hunters and owners of herds of cattle. The climate of this country, its dense woods, bogs, and lakes, its cold and prolonged winters and damp summers, were all unfavourable to agriculture, and it is not until the introduction of Christianity that we have clear proof of local settlements, and the practice of growing grain in connexion with these centres of civilization. At present it must be remembered our island is not favourable for the growth of grain, which in Norway and Sweden matures far north of our latitude, but as I cannot obtain conclusive facts to elucidate this interesting question, I must content myself with simple reference to the so-called sickles, and the classification of them now proposed.
There are at least three well-marked varieties of the so-called sickles which deserve separate arrangement:
1. The implement springing laterally from an open socket of which the specimen found at Meelick Ford is a good example.
2. A somewhat similar shaped weapon springing from the side of a closed socket.
3. The comparatively rare curved weapon, shaped like the handle of a walking-stick or end of a crozier; this is usually larger in size than the other forms, and bears a certain external resemblance to a sickle, but has both sides equally sharpened.
In both Nos. 2 and 3 there are found examples with rounded terminations to the blade, like ordinary dinner knives, and also some with acute points. Whether this difference demands their separation into distinct classes must be left undecided at present. Such difference is considered important in the case of other bronze implements, and alleged to depend on their belonging to distinct Irish races.
I append a list of all the examples at present known to me in this country and in Great Britain.
LIST OF DIFFERENT FORMS OF BRONZE IMPLEMENTS USUALLY
CLASSED AS “SICKLES."
1.—Those distinguished by having perforated sockets. 1. Found at Ford of Meelick, on the Shannon : socket, upwards of one inch deep; blade, 47 inches in length; point rounded (Dr. Frazer). (Pl. xi., fig. 10.)
2. Royal Irish Academy Museum (No. 83): socket, 1} inch ; blade, 34 inches; point rounded. (Pl. XIII., fig. 7.)
3. Royal Irish Academy Museum (No. 84): socket, 1} inch; blade, 3} inches; point rounded.
4. Royal Irish Academy (No. 85): socket, 1} inch ; blade, 31 inches; point rounded.
5. Museum of Cambridge Antiquarian Society: obtained from Streatham Fen; measurement given by Sir J. Evans, 54 inches.
6. From Downham Fen, 54 inches.
7. In vol. i., p. 108, “ Dublin Penny Journal,” there is a woodcut representing an instrument of this class with five bands upon the sockets and two ribbings on the blade, the socket about 1} inch deep, and the blade 5} inches long, point acuminated. No history is given; it prefaces a paper on the Antiquity of Corn in Ireland after the Christian Era, about which no doubts exist, but there appears no connexion between this bronze implement and the author's remarks. I do not know where it is at present.
8. Socket, 17 inch long; blade 4 inches with raised central ribbing along blade. Found in the Thames, near Windsor, and engraved in Proc. Soc. Antiqs. London, 2 ser. vol. 5, p. 95.
II.—Socket closed above ; blade springing from side of socket.
1. Royal Irish Academy Museum (No. 77); length of socket, 1inch; length of blade, 31 inches ; point rounded.
2. Royal Irish Academy Museum (No. 79); length of socket, 2 inches; of blade, 31 inches ; point rather acuminated.
3. Royal Irish Academy Museum (No. 78); length of socket, almost 3 inches ; blade broken across two inches from socket; the sides decorated in a cord-like pattern along centre of blade ; point was probably acuminated.
4. Royal Irish Academy Museum (No. 80); length of socket, 2 inches ; length of blade, 3 inches; point rounded.
5. Royal Irish Academy Museum (No. 76); length of socket, 21 inches, above which the blade extends for another quarter of an inch; it is broken transversely across, two inches from side of socket, and ornamented with a series of parallel flutings; the point appears to have been acuminated; found in county Cavan.
6. Royal Irish Academy Museum (No. 82); length of socket, 2 inches ; from this the blade springs in an oblique line, passing from top of socket in a continuous curve, and forming an intermediate form with the next described class of implements; length of blade, 33 inches ; found in county Tipperary. (Pl. XII., fig. 2.)
7. Royal Irish Academy Museum : a highly decorated implement, of which a woodcut is given in Sir W. Wilde's Catalogue ; length of socket, 2] inches, above which the blade rises for half an inch ; length of blade about 43 inches; found in county Westmeath. (Plate XII., fig. 1.)
8. In Canon Grainger's Collection, Belfast ; length of socket, 1} inch, above which the blade rises for about one eighth of an inch ; length of blade, 3} inches ; end broken off ; it appears to have been much rounded. (Pl. XIII., fig. 11.)
9. Canon Greenwell, Durham (fig. 1)'; length of socket above 1} inch; of blade, 34 inches, with three ribbings on sides of blade; end sharp pointed; got at Garvagh, county Derry; figure 237 in Evans on “ Bronze Implements."
FIG. 1 10. Perth Museum ; length to top of socket, 2 inches, above which the blade rises for about one-fourth of an inch ; length of blade, 5 inches; there are five flutings on sides of blade ; point well rounded; dredged from the Tay, near Errol, in 1840; figure 236 in Evans on “ Bronze Implements.”
11. British Museum ; length of socket, 2 inches; the blade extends obliquely from upper part of socket across its sides to a point about one inch above the aperture, and measures 3} inches; point acuminated; found at a depth of 6 feet in a bog, couuty Tyrone ; figured in Archæol. Journal, vol. ii., p. 186.
12. Mr. Carruthers; length to top of socket, 14 inch, from which the blade springs continuously, so that no distinct demarcation is preserved; length of blade, nearly 6 inches; point sharply acuminated ; found near Belfast in 1849. (Pl. XII., fig. 3.)
13. Length to top of socket 2} inches; length of blade, 3 inches springing from side of socket similar to No. 12; a cord-like decoration runs along the sides of blade to its point, which is acuminated ; found in Aberdeenshire, and figured in Proc. Soc. Antiq., Scotland, vol. vii., p. 376.
14. R. Day, Esq., Cork ; length to top of socket, 2 inches, from which the blade springs without marked demarcation ; blade, curved considerably, with rounded end projecting four inches from the socket, so that its curved convex edge measures six inches ; found in county Antrim. (Plate XIII., fig. 12.)
I have to acknowledge the kindness of Sir J. Evans, D.C.L., late President of the Society of Antiquaries, in lending the woodcuts used to illustrate this paper. 15. A broken blade with sharp point 3 inches in length; sides ornamented with three narrow bands; found at Ballon, Co. Carlow, several years since, it is said, with urns, but I am not aware of the circumstances ; communicated by Rev. J. M. ffrench, of Clonegal.
16. In Sir J. Evans' Collection ; length of socket, 2 inches ; of blade, 44 inches; dredged from the Thames in 1859; figure 234 in his work on “Bronze Implements."
III.— The blade much curved, springing from the top of a closed socket.
1. Royal Irish Academy Museum (No. 86); length of socket, 13 inch; blade measured along its upper edge to expanded top of socket, 7} inches ; apex of blades broken ; acuminated. (Pl. xII., fig. 4.)
2. Royal Irish Academy Museum (No. 87); length of socket, nearly 21 inches, expanding like last where the blade originates; this measures along its upper convex edge 84 inches, and ends in a pointed extremity. (Pl. xII., fig. 5.)
Fig. 2. 3. British Museum (fig. 2); length of socket, 24 inches; blade, broad, with rounded ending, having three ribbings on its sides; it