School of Histories, Languages and Cultures


Yvonne Inall

Emmanuel SaboroPhD Research

In search of the spear people: the archaeology of Iron Age weapons and warfare in East Yorkshire in their European Context

Spearheads of the British Iron Age are an understudied class of object and their form and function (both militarily and socially) remains poorly understood. The Iron Age burials of East Yorkshire have yielded a higher number of spearheads than any other contemporary site in Britain, where they played a special role in the graves of certain individuals. The so-called “speared corpse” burials, which saw up to 20 spears thrown or placed in individual graves, are a peculiar feature of the region’s internationally significant Arras culture dated between the fourth century BC and the early first century AD. The remarkable South Cave Weapons Cache, which included 33 spears and 5 swords in ornate sheaths, provides a broader range of forms and highlight issues around differential deposition and social networks. Was this cache hidden at the time of the Roman conquest of the region, or was it a ritual deposit associated with a nearby settlement? This research aims to develop a new typology of spearheads for Iron Age Britain, facilitating an exploration of their martial function as well as the role these weapons played in identity construction, within a broader British and European context.


Yvonne Inall completed a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Philosophy at the University of Sydney, Australia before coming to Hull to commence her doctoral research. Yvonne has had a long interested in Iron Age weaponry, her masters research focussed on Iron Age Italy. Yvonne holds a Research Affiliation with the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens for the period 2011 to 2014.

Conference Presentations:

  • “A new typology of spearheads for Iron Age South Italy (Una nuova tipologia di punte e puntali di armi lunghe dell’Eta del Ferro nel Italia meridionale”, III Convegno Internazionale di Archaeologia Sperimentale: antiche metallurgie a confront, Blera – Civitella Cesi, Italy 8-10 April 2011.
  • “A new typology of spearheads for Iron Age South Italy”, Fingerprinting the Iron Age. Approaches to identity in the European Iron Age. Integrating South-Eastern Europe into the debate. Magdalene College and McDonald Institute, Cambridge, United Kingdom 23rd - 25th September, 2011.
  • Poster: “A New Typology of Spearheads for Iron Age South Italy” 113th Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, Philadelphia, PA USA, January 5–8, 2012.
  • “A Preliminary Spearhead Typology for Iron Age Britain” Yorkshire Archaeological Postgraduate Group, York University, 16 March 2012.
  • “A Preliminary Spearhead Typology for Iron Age Britain” 15th Iron Age Research Student Symposium, University of Southampton, 2 June 2012


Awards and Activities


2011 University of Hull International Fee Bursary

Contact Details

Phone:   07500 2520701 
Email:   y.l.inall@2011.hull.ac.uk




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