Single-edged socketed Urnfield knives in the Netherlands and western Europe


  • J.J. Butler
  • S. Arnoldussen
  • H. Steegstra


The Netherlands are situated at what in the Late Bronze Age was an interface between the Nordic, Urnfield and Atlantic interaction zones. However, reconstruction maps for these interaction zones by various authors show different dominant affiliations (e.g. Atlantic or Urnfield) for the Netherlands. Therefore, this study analyzes the Dutch single-edged socketed Urnfield knives as part of the larger data set on Dutch Late Bronze Age knives, placing them in their wider west-European context. In order to better characterize the distribution of types of socketed knives and their moulds, it is argued that a separate northwest-European production and interaction zone must have existed. Nonetheless, contacts remained with a core area of single-edged socketed knife production in the region of the French/Swiss lake-shore settlements, known as palafittes. In addition, analysis of knife contexts, such as their incorporation in graves, allows to further distinguish areas of different meaning attached to such knives within the larger regions defined by knife typology. Affinity to central-European Urnfield Culture groups is limited to shared decorative traditions. The centre of gravity for the production of single-edged socketed knives is situated decidedly west of the central-European Urnfield area.