Kilham : Bronze Age (2000 BC – 700 BC)
It is unfortunate that the rapier blade found near to Bowmont Water, Kilham during the 19th century, and now in the Edinburgh Museum, is not better provenanced (NT 880320 is approximate). Bronze weapons such as this are extremely rare, and are likely to have been very valuable, perhaps the exclusive preserve of an elite social class. Rapiers such as this one were in use approximately 1500-1000 BC, and are likely to have been suited only to combat between individuals (Higham 1986, 101). It is possible that this was accidentally lost, although bronze weapons are known to occur in rivers, lakes and bogs as votive deposits, and this may be one such example. However, without a precise location for this discovery, it is impossible to be certain.
The cairn on Kilham Hill (NT 885311) excavated in 1905 and concealing a cist (slab lined burial chamber) containing burnt bones is likely to be of Bronze Age date. Two other burial cairns are known from Coldsmouth Hill, just to the north of the current study area. All three cairns are positioned prominently so as to overlook, or be seen from, many parts of the landscape, something that was considered particularly important to Neolithic and Bronze Age societies.
Several well preserved settlements are known to exist in this area, mostly identified from aerial photographs, though these are very difficult to date, as all are unexcavated, and none are visible above ground. It is possible that the ring ditch, palisade and rectilinear enclosure at NT 870330 may have Bronze Age origins, though without excavation this cannot be confirmed.