A perfect copy of a British Sword


Iron Age Cemeteries in East Yorkshire. Dr Ian Stead, British Museum Press 1991 (way out of print)

In the above publication, which features the famous Kirkburn Mail and Sword, there are numerous other swords found in the cemeteries. What is interesting to note is that they are all short, some are pointed and some are blunt, they all have simple handles and were found in simple wood and fleece/leather scabbards (with no metal fittings). 
I'm not really an expert on Iron Age weapons but it would seem likely, that unless this is truly an isolated and unique sub-group as is argued in some quarters, then these kind of shorter and more basic weapons are maybe as numerous or more so than the archetypal long slashing sword that we all associated with the Celtic peoples.

The weapons themselves
I am not going to repeat verbatim what is in the report but the blade lengths vary from 442mm up to about 620mm (most are around 50cm), which is about 16.5" to around 24.5" in old money, and blade widths from 30mm to 48mm. Some blades are slightly tapered and some are not. Where present all the handles were organic and most featured a guard plate. Most of the handles were a mixture of horn and antler, with or without separating 'washers'.

My construction.

I worked from a 3/16" EN45 bar using an angle grinder. The handle has an iron guard plate and horn and antler sections, separated with copper-alloy 'washers'.
The whole arrangement is riveted through a 'washer' on the end of the tang.
The finds are obviously blurred with decay and you cannot be 100% certain as to original shape and unhelpfully the report didn't provide enough details on the handle sizes, widths or size of the guard plates. So, I made mine to fight my hand, which is probably what they did.

Overall length of weapon is 715mm with a blade of 560mm

Getting the washers to fit exactly and comfortably took some time but we got there in the end. Below is a comparison of my copy vs the originals. Materials are in the same order: