Posts Tagged With: Bronze Age

Exotic hoard artefacts found in field hint at long-distance Bronze Age sea travel……


A photo of a series of jagged stone bronze age artefacts against a black background

Metal detectorists, farmers and archaeologists have helped discover a Bronze Age hoard in west Wales© National Museum Wales

Archaeologists investigating a 2.5-kilogram hoard of sword blades, scabbards and knives found by a metal detectorist in January 2013 say the plough-disturbed artefacts could have been delivered to Wales by sea from southern England or northern France.

Two blade fragments, a scabbard fitting, a multi-edged knife and six copper ingot fragments were discovered by Adrian Young a few metres apart from each other in the corner of a field in Marloes and St Brides .

The Coroner for Pembrokeshire has now officially declared the hoard treasure, with archaeologists at National Museum Wales dating it to between 2,800 and 3,000 years ago.

“The combination of objects found in this hoard hints at the long-distance sea travel of finished objects during the Late Bronze Age, from southern England and northern France to west Wales,” says Adam Gwilt, the Principal Curator for Prehistory at National Museum Wales.

“The swords, scabbard and knife are exotic types, not typical for the region.

“We can now see that copper ingot fragments are common components within hoards from Pembrokeshire, similar to a pattern also seen in Cornwall.”

An as-yet-undecided public museum collection will acquire the hoard once it has been independently valued.

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Archaeologists hail ‘incredible’ Norfolk Bronze Age discovery…….



Dr Tim Pestell with the Bronze Age dirk (large dagger) which was ceremonially bent when it was made. It's  the only other British example (which was also found in Norfolk) is in the British Museum. Photo : Steve Adams

Dr Tim Pestell with the Bronze Age dirk (large dagger) which was ceremonially bent when it was made. It’s the only other British example (which was also found in Norfolk) is in the British Museum. Photo : Steve Adams

A spectacular new Norfolk treasure has been unveiled – after years of being used as a doorstop.

The 3,500-year-old Rudham Dirk, a ceremonial Middle Bronze Age dagger, was first ploughed up near East Rudham more than a decade ago. But the landowner didn’t realise what it was and was using it to prop open his office door.

And the bronze treasure even came close to being thrown in a skip, but luckily archaeologists identified it in time.

Now the dirk has been bought for Norfolk for close to £41,000 and is now on display in Norwich Castle Museum.

Dr John Davies, Chief Curator of Norfolk Museums Service, said: “This is one of the real landmark discoveries.”

The dirk – a kind of dagger – was never meant to be used as a weapon and was deliberately bent when it was made as an offering to the gods.

Only five others like it have ever been found in Europe – including one at Oxborough in 1988, which is now in the British Museum. But thanks to a £38,970 grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, following a £2,000 donation from the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society, the Bronze Age treasure will now stay in the county.

Dr Tim Pestell, who is Curator of Archaeology with the NMS, has been negotiating with the (unnamed) landowner for almost a year. He said: “As soon as my colleagues told me about it we started to plan how we could acquire it, so it could stay in Norfolk and be on display here.”

Dr Andrew Rogers, whose team first identified the dirk, said he never expected the Oxborough discovery would be repeated. “It’s absolutely incredible. Gosh – to have a find like this twice in a lifetime – this is unbelievable,” he said.

The 1.9kg (4lb) dirk is made from bronze, which is nine-tenths copper and one-tenth tin. The nearest source for the copper is Wales, while the tin may have come from Cornwall.

Straightened out, it would be 68cm long, slightly shorter than the Oxborough example. It may even have been made in the same workshop, maybe even by the same craftsperson.

Sophie Cabot, president of the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society, added: “We’re really excited – it would have been a great shame if we’d have lost it.”

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4,000-Year-Old Burial with Chariots Discovered in South Caucasus…..


An ancient burial containing chariots, gold artifacts and possible human sacrifices has been discovered by archaeologists in the country of Georgia, in the south Caucasus.

The burial site, which would’ve been intended for a chief, dates back over 4,000 years to a time archaeologists call the Early Bronze Age, said Zurab Makharadze, head of the Centre of Archaeology at the Georgian National Museum.

Archaeologists discoveredthe timber burial chamber within a 39-foot-high (12 meters) mound called a kurgan. When the archaeologists reached the chamber they found an assortment of treasures, including two chariots, each with four wooden wheels. [See Images of the Burial Chamber & Chariots]

The team discovered ornamented clay and wooden vessels, flint and obsidian arrowheads, leather and textile artifacts, a unique wooden armchair, carnelian and amber beads and 23 golden artifacts, including rare and artistic crafted jewelry, wrote Makharadze in the summary of a presentation he gave recently at the International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, held at the University of Basel in Switzerland.

“In the burial chamber were placed two four-wheeled chariots, both in good condition, [the] design of which represents fine ornamental details of various styles,” Makharadze wrote. Thechamber also contained wild fruits, he added.

While the human remains had been disturbed by a robbery, which probably occurred in ancient times, and were in a disordered position, the archaeologists found that seven people were buried in the chamber. “One of them was a chief and others should be the members of his family, sacrificed slaves or servants,” Makharadze told Live Science in an email.

A time before the horse

The burial dates back to a time before domesticated horses appeared in the area, Makharadze said. While no animals were found buried with the chariots, he said, oxen would have pulled them.

Other rich kurgan burials dating to the second half of the third millennium B.C. have also been found in the south Caucasus,said Makharadze in another paperhe presented in February at the College de France in Paris. The appearance of these rich burials appears to be connected to interactions that occurred between nomadic people from the Eurasian steppes and farming communities within and near the south Caucasus, Makharadze said.

These interactions appear to have led to some individuals, like this chief, getting elaborate burials. The newly discovered armchair symbolizes the power that individuals like the chief had. “The purpose of the wooden armchair was the indication to power, and it was put in the kurgan as a symbol of power,” Makharadze said in the email

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Bronze Age pot contains 21 axe heads…..



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England…Isle of Man…..Ken Rive, a member of the Jersey metal detecting society, made the find in a field in Trinity last month.

Two axe heads have been removed from the pot and examined by staff at Cranfield University.

They found they contained a lot of lead, which suggests the 3,000-year-old axes were not functional tools but objects of prestige, researchers said.

With almost 55% of the axe being made of lead the axe would not have had a very sharp edge.

Five major finds of Bronze Age tools, weapons and jewellery have been uncovered in Jersey between 1836 and 2001. It is thought the islands may have been a staging post for traders.

Jersey Heritage plans to remove the remaining axe heads from the pot and examine all 23 to learn more about them and life in Jersey 3,000 years ago.

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Bronze Age Golden Cup Unearthed in Italy…….



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Archaeologists have dated a rare golden cup uearthed near the town of Montecchio Emilia in Northern Italy to about 1800 B.C., making it one of only three other similar golden cups discovered in Europe and Britain that have intrigued archaeologists and historians for years.
The cup turned up during a survey of a gravel pit located along terraces adjacent to the Enza River. Previous surveys in nearby areas also revealed evidence of dwellings of the late-Neolithic and Bronze Ages (IV-III millennium B.C), terramara cremation urns from the mid-recent Bronze Age (XIV-XII centuries B.C.), and Etruscan graves.
A recent report stated that “It had clearly been lifted up and partially moved by the plough quite some time ago. No structure, tomb or anything else that could be correlated to the original resting place of the cup was found: evidently, it must have been buried in a simple hole in the bare earth. It appears to have been smashed in ancient times, then later partially broken by a plough, which seems to have pulled out a small piece”.
Archaeologists suggest that it might have served as a ritual cup, but the difficulty of its context when found has left archaeologists puzzled about the use, meaning and owners of the vessel. As reported, “No other elements – from strictly the same period as the Montecchio cup – were found in the gravel pit area: it thus must have been hidden away or placed there as a votive offering, although some information from the archives, presently under examination, might be able to link the cup to a finding of 13 gold objects, apparently from the Bronze Age, when a field in Montecchio was ploughed on January 18, 1782: unfortunately, the items were melted down. All that remains are lively descriptions from the period”.

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