This paper describes the results from a project to date Early Bronze Age daggers and knives from barrows in south-west England. Copper alloy daggers are found in the earliest Beaker associated graves and continue to accompany human remains until the end of the Early Bronze Age. They have been identified as key markers of Early Bronze Age graves since the earliest antiquarian excavations and typological sequences have been suggested to provide dating for the graves in which they are found. However, comparatively few southern British daggers are associated with radiocarbon determinations. To help address this problem, five sites in south-west England sites were identified which had daggers and knives, four of copper alloy and one of flint, and associated cremated bone for radiocarbon dating. Three sites were identified in Cornwall (Fore Down, Rosecliston, Pelynt) and two in Devon (Upton Pyne and Huntshaw). Ten samples from these sites were submitted for radiocarbon dating. All but one (Upton Pyne) are associated with two or more dates. The resulting radiocarbon determinations revealed that daggers/knives were occasionally deposited in barrow-associated contexts in the south-west from c. 1900 to 1500 cal bc.
The dagger at Huntshaw, Devon, was of Camerton-Snowshill type and the dates were earlier than those generally proposed but similar to that obtained from cremated bone found with another dagger of this type from Cowleaze in Dorset: these dates may necessitate reconsideration of the chronology of these daggers