Bronze Age Discoveries

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#1
Ring fort may have held Bronze Age sports arena
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ire ... 40601.html

MICHAEL PARSONS

Thu, Feb 25, 2010

A MYSTERIOUS ring fort in Co Tipperary holds “massive potential for discoveries” according to archaeologists who have carried out the first survey of the site.

Their initial findings suggest that the site may have been used for Bronze Age sporting contests in an arena that is the ancient equivalent of Semple Stadium.

Archaeologists have long been curious about the origins of the Rathnadrinna Fort located about 3km south of the Rock of Cashel – one of Ireland’s most important heritage locations and seat of the High Kings of Munster.

The unusually large and distinctive landmark is still subject to many of the traditional taboos surrounding fairy forts. Archaeologists say that many people in rural areas still believe it is unwise to enter a fairy fort or to cut down perimeter trees or vegetation.

Ian Doyle, head of conservation services and archaeology with the Heritage Council, said it was traditionally believed that the fort was a “defended farmstead” of a type commonly built in Ireland about 1,200 years ago.

But while the “average run-of-the-mill fairy fort” is ringed by one defensive perimeter ditch, “Rathnadrinna Fort is quite rare because it has three rings”. Despite the historical significance of the landscape, the fort has never been excavated.

Mr Doyle said “when you think of Tara, the countryside surrounding the Rock of Cashel must hold massive potential for discoveries”. This led the council to fund a survey of the site which was carried out by a team of archaeologists led by Cashel-based Richard O’Brien and the Co Mayo company Earthsound Archaeological Geophysics.

Using highly sensitive equipment, the soil was subjected to “high-resolution magnetic imaging” – similar to an MRI scan. It is the first time that any of the fairy forts in the countryside surrounding the Rock of Cashel has been surveyed in this manner.

Speaking to The Irish Times about the results, Mr O’Brien said that “none of the traditional evidence associated with ring forts – such as houses, hearths or rubbish pits – was found”. Instead, the team discovered that the site may have been first used 3,000 years ago during the late Bronze Age.

He said one of the most exciting discoveries was evidence of a Stonehenge-style circle of wooden posts suggestive of “a ceremonial or ritual role for the fort”.

Mr O’Brien said the use of the site would have changed down through the centuries and the survey results indicate that it had “a royal function”. But the most intriguing possibility, he said, was that the “vast interior area which is much larger than most ring forts is like a sports arena”.

Rathnadrinna translates as the “Fort of the Contest”, he added.
Edit to amend subject title.
 
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#2
That's quite bizarre. At the very same time this story was posted I was looking for information about another Irish ring fort - the Grianan of Aileach in Donegal - it having been mentioned several times in Seamus Deane's Reading in the Dark, which I've just finished reading.
 
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Bronze Age gold bracelets found in east Kent dig
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-11277386

Bronze Age bracelets The bracelets were found together, one pushed inside the other

Two gold Bronze Age bracelets have been uncovered during an archaeological dig in east Kent.

They were among 10,000 items unearthed between Ramsgate and Sandwich, ahead of the building of the new East Kent Access Road.

The bracelets, dating from 700 BC, were found by Kent County Council principal archaeological officer Simon Mason on top of earth dug from a trench.

"It was incredible... they looked too good to be real," he said.

"They were quite tarnished to start with.

"When we washed them and cleaned them we realised they were something special."
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

They are really helping to shed new light on the lives of prehistoric, Roman and Saxon people in Thanet”

End Quote Simon Mason Principal archaeological officer

It is thought they were children's bracelets that may have been a worship offering, placed near to water.

They were found together, one pushed inside the other.

Archaeologists have found evidence of a Bronze Age settlement on the find site, and five hoards of bronze objects of a similar age to the bracelets have been found in the same area.

"Their real value to me as an archaeologist though is how they contribute to the story we are putting together from our excavations on the road," Mr Mason said.

"With all the thousands of everyday objects we have dug up they are really helping to shed new light on the lives of prehistoric, Roman and Saxon people in Thanet."

Horse burial

The bracelets are being kept secure by Oxford Wessex Archaeology until they can be declared treasure by the North East Kent Coroner.

It is hoped they will be put on display locally in future.

The dig has yielded a vast array of objects from every period, from prehistoric times to World War II.

Other finds include a clay beaker in a Bronze Age grave on a ridge high above the site.

In another grave was a mystery bronze object with a Saxon cross, and there was also an Iron Age horse burial.

Archaeologists have been sharing the findings with local schools and residents, staging open days, roadshows and leading guided tours of their work.
 

Zilch5

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#4
Unearthed Aryan cities rewrite history

BRONZE Age cities archaeologists say could be the precursor of Western civilisation is being uncovered in excavations on the Russian steppe.

Twenty of the spiral-shaped settlements, believed to be the original home of the Aryan people, have been identified, and there are about 50 more suspected sites. They all lie buried in a region more than 640km long near Russia's border with Kazakhstan.

The cities are thought to have been built 3500-4000 years ago, soon after the Great Pyramid in Egypt. They are about the same size as several of the city states of ancient Greece, which started to come into being in Crete at about the same time.

If archeologists confirm the cities as Aryan, they could be the remnants of a civilisation that spread through Europe and much of Asia. Their language has been identified as the precursor of modern Indo-European tongues, including English. Words such as brother, guest and oxen have been traced back to this prototype.

"Potentially, this could rival ancient Greece in the age of the heroes," said British historian Bettany Hughes, who spent much of the northern summer exploring the region for a BBC radio program, Tracking the Aryans.

"We are all told that there is this kind of mother tongue, proto-Indo-European, from which all the languages we know emerge.

"I was very excited to hear on the archeological grapevine that in exactly the period I am an expert in, this whole new Bronze Age civilisation had been discovered on the steppe of southern Siberia."

She described driving for seven hours into the steppe grasslands with chief archeologist Gennady Zdanovich. "He took me to this expanse of grass; you couldn't tell there was anything special. Then, as he pointed to the ground, suddenly I realised I was walking across a buried city," she said.

"Every now and again you suddenly notice these ghostly shapes of fortresses and cattle sheds and homes and religious sites. I would not have known these had he not shown them to me."

The shape of each of the cities, which are mainly in the Chelyabinsk district, resembles an ammonite fossil, divided into segments with a spiral street plan. The settlements, which would each have housed about 2000 people -- the same as an ancient Greek city such as Mycenae -- are all surrounded by a ditch and have a square in the middle.

The first city, known as Arkaim, was discovered in 1989, soon after the soviet authorities allowed non-military aerial photography for the first time.

The full extent of the remains is only now becoming apparent. Items that have so far been dug up include many pieces of pottery covered in swastikas, which were widely used ancient symbols of the sun and eternal life. The Nazis appropriated the Aryans and the swastika as symbols of their so-called master race. Ms Hughes believes that some of the strongest evidence that the cities could be the home of the Aryans comes from a series of horse burials.

Several ancient Indian texts believed to have been written by Aryans recount similar rituals. "These ancient Indian texts and hymns describe sacrifices of horses and burials and the way the meat is cut off and the way the horse is buried with its master," she said. "If you match this with the way the skeletons and the graves are being dug up in Russia, they are a millimetre-perfect match."
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/wo ... 5933563131
 
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#6
'Tis a curious piece. The stuff about the 'Aryan' culture is a real blast from the past, with more than a whiff of the fetid odour of the grave. Some of the remarks on the page suggest the slant on Aryanism might have more than a little to do with the rise of nationalism in the region. The fact that the BBC is making a radio prog. on the subject does not entirely allay my suspicions.
 

Zilch5

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#7
I checked out the names mentioned, but none seem to be connected to anything nefarious. Maybe we've moved on towards the point where the "A" word can be used again in its correct context.
 

Vardoger

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The first aryans came from the turkish/black sea region and was dark(er) skinned before they moved to Europe and got a white(r) skin after several hundreds or thousands of generations living in Europe.

When I tell that to racists they usually get pissed.
 
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#10
Bronze Age hoard found intact in Essex field
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11651691

Bronze axes Archaeologists have described the hoard as an exciting find

Archaeologists have unearthed a collection of Bronze Age axe heads, spear tips and other 3,000-year-old metal objects buried in an Essex field.

The items include an intact pottery container with heavy contents which has been removed undisturbed.

The materials are now at a local museum where archaeologists hope to uncover new insights into Bronze Age Britain.

"This is a really exciting find," said local archaeologist Laura McLean.

"To find a hoard still located in its Bronze Age context, below the level of ploughed soil, is very rare. The fact that there is pottery involved makes the find even more unusual."

The location was reported to archaeologists at Colchester and Ipswich Museums by a landowner from the Burnham-on-Crouch area and Mr J Humphreys, a metal detectorist.
Bronze Age artefacts (360 Productions) Finding a hoard in its Bronze Age context is very rare

Three other hobbyists then came forward to report more finds in the same area including the top of a pottery vessel.

"This is a really exciting find and a good example of metal detectorists and archaeologists working together to uncover and record our history, making sure it is not lost forever," says McLean who acts as local Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

The excavation at the Bronze Age site was filmed and the objects have been removed to allow archaeologists to carry out their studies.

As the intact pot was so fragile and the contents were heavy, the decision was taken to "block lift" the vessel and transport it to the museums laboratory for further study.

In block lifting, the soil around the object is excavated and the object itself is sealed - on this occasion in cling film - to preserve it intact and to prevent damage when transporting it.
 

Zilch5

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#11
Malta:

Ancient tombs discovered on school construction site

A group of ancient tombs dating back to the Punic period were discovered during excavation works for the construction of a new primary school at the Archbishop’s Seminary in Tal-Virtù, The Times has learned.

According to Nathaniel Cutajar from the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, the discovery is of “great scientific interest” and “confirms the archaeological importance” of the Tal-Virtù area in Rabat.

The superintendence is responsible for all scientific investigation of cultural assets, including archaeological excavations. An investigation of the discovery is under way by its team of archaeologists.

The Archbishop’s Seminary has a planning permit to build a primary school extension to its secondary school. Site plans have to be changed after this discovery.

“The superintendence is working in close collaboration with the seminary authorities and with the Malta Environment and Planning Authority to redesign the project, allowing it to proceed while ensuring these archaeological discoveries are protected,” Mr Cutajar said.

The discovery of these tombs, he added, was immediately reported to the superintendence by the seminary authorities following the start of construction works on site.

School headmaster Fr David Cilia said the discovery was made on September 21 and the heritage authorities were on site the day after.

“The discovery creates mixed feelings because on the one hand it enriches the country’s archaeological patrimony but on the other hand it complicates our school building plans,” Fr Cilia said.

He confirmed that the seminary had to change its plans and was in the process of submitting fresh designs that would safeguard the Punic tombs. “Work in the area where the tombs were found has been stopped but is continuing in other areas of the construction site unaffected by the archaeological remains,” Fr Cilia said. As is normal practice in such instances, a cultural heritage monitor has been app-ointed to oversee the works.
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/vi ... ction-site
 

Zilch5

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#12
5000 year old footprints found on Formby beach

5000 year old footprints found on Formby beach

More prehistoric human footprints have been found along a 4 km strip of coast between Formby and Ainsdale that date back some 5,000 years.

Archaeologists today dubbed the discovery ‘sensational', claiming it is one of the most significant historic footprint finds the country has seen.

Over the last few weeks hobbyists have been scouring the sand dunes with a fine tooth comb and have struck lucky with their latest findings.

Marine scientists explained how the beaches are receding, which forces layers of sand and sediment to disperse, leaving land which has lay undisturbed for thousands of years.

They added that while the footprints often appear and disappear depending on the weather and season, the new discovery came as a shock to many people.

Mysterious footprints have been found in the area since the 1950s but the latest finds also shows that deer, six foot cattle and birds from the Bronze Age once roamed the area.

Government scientists looking to protect the footprints could create a marine conservation zone in the area to protect their heritage.

The first person to take an active role in studying the footprints was ex-Harrington Road resident Gordon Roberts back in 1989.

Now 81-years-old, the former head of languages at Formby High, devised his own system of monitoring and tracking the prints by location.

Mr Roberts told The Champion that he is really excited about the recent discovery and said the importance of it for local residents should not be underestimated.

He said: “Formby prides itself on being a Viking village but from that aspect there are no visible remains.

”But of course that was only 1,000 years ago, some of the footprints recently found are over 6,000 years old and allow us to paint a truer picture of the past of Sefton's coast.

“They have found footprints from aurochs, a breed of cattle which is now extinct, but they would have been very ferocious and fearsome animals standing at six feet tall.”

Andrew Brockbank, countryside manager for the National Trust, explained how the footprints are unveiled.

He told The Champion: “Throughout different periods of history there were animals in Formby coming down to the water's edge and as the coastline was building, their footprints became locked in the sediments.

"But now the coastline is receding it is beginning to uncover some of the sediments and now you can clearly see some really amazing footprints."

Dr Mark Adams, senior archaeological project officer at the museum of Liverpool, is involved with the Sefton Coast Partnership who are investigating Formby's dunes.

He hailed the discovery as "up there with the best exposures this country has ever had in terms of prehistoric footprints."

Dr Adams, who recently visited the site, added: "When you see them a shiver goes down your spine and you get a real direct connection with people from thousands of years ago.

“Just weeks ago the finding was between five and ten trails of human footprints along with a really good exposure of red deer prints.

"We are trying to get local people involved to help us find more and are looking to organise some archaeology training sessions for next year."

To get involved with the project you can contact Dr Mark Adams on 0151 4784260 or for more information on marine conservation zones visit www.irishseaconservation.org.uk
http://www.champnews.com/html/newsstory.asp?id=8694
 
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#13
Secrets in Stone: Rare Archaeological Find in Norway
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 073133.htm

These unusual petroglyphs were found in a burial mound in Stjørdal, central Norway. (Credit: Anne Haug, NTNU Museum of Natural History and Archaeology)

ScienceDaily (Jan. 31, 2011) — It looked to be a routine excavation of what was thought to be a burial mound. But beneath the mound, archaeologists from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's Museum of Natural History and Archaeology found something more: unusual Bronze Age petroglyphs. "We believe these are very special in a Norwegian context," says museum researcher and project manager Anne Haug.

The excavation in Stjørdal, just north of Trondheim, was necessitated by the expansion of a gravel pit. Given that project archaeologists didn't anticipate that the dig would be very complicated, the museum researchers dedicated just three weeks to the effort.

Petroglyphs under a cremation site

Then came the surprises. First, it turned out that mound builders had used an existing hill as a starting point -- which of course saved them time and effort. The hill itself made the burial mound even larger and more monumental than it might have otherwise been.

But researchers suspected there might be another reason for the choice of the hilltop when they uncovered the remains of two cremations, or rather a fire layer that also contained bits of bone. Underneath they found many petroglyphs, including eight drawings showing the soles of feet, with cross hatching. There were also five shallow depressions, Haug says.

Two boat drawings and several other drawings of feet soles with toes were also found just south of the burial mound.

LInk between burial mound and drawings unclear

"This is a very special discovery, and we are not aware of other similar findings from Trøndelag County," she says. "The tomb might have been deliberately constructed over the petroglyphs, probably as part of funeral ritual. Based on the type of characters and especially the drawings of the foot soles, we have dated the artwork to the Bronze Age, about 1800 -- 500 BC."

"Why there are foot sole drawings beneath the tomb is a puzzle. But if we interpret the find in terms of a fertility cult, it may be that the soles represent God and life-giving power. That means that you can have both life and death represented in one place," she says.

Unique in a Norwegian context

Haug says that there was a similar discovery in Østlandet County, an area called Jong in Bærum, where petroglyphs illustrating foot soles were found under a tomb that dates back to the Bronze Age. In a Nordic context, this phenomenon is more common, and there are several examples where burials were combined with rock art, particularly petroglyphs of foot soles from Bohuslän, a World Heritage site in Sweden.

It's not yet clear if the grave was put in place the same time as the petroglyphs, Haug says. The dig began in September, 2010 and extended through the end of October, but the analysis is ongoing.

The scientists have found about 900 grams of burned bone, probably from one or more individuals; they hope to be able to carry out C-14 dating of the material and conduct more analyses so they can determine more about the gender and the age of the individuals in the grave.

"Currently, we have found several human teeth, as well as what may be remains of human ribs. We also found an animal tooth that suggests that one or more animals may have been laid in the tomb along with whoever is buried there," she says. There were very few objects found in the tomb, but a flat corroded metal object was found in the burnt layer. It's hard to say what this was, but the object will be X-rayed for analysis.

Remains of a larger burial ground?

It is unclear whether the original burial site contained two grave mounds, or whether there was just one large burial area.

A burial ground in the area was first described in 1818 by Lorentz D. Klüwer, and archaeologist Karl Rygh also described the site in 1879. It is likely that the graves that have been excavated in the most recent dig are the last remains of this burial ground.

The rock art found at the site is a type called South Scandinadivan agriculture carving and is dated to the Bronze Age, from 1800 -- 500 BC. The tomb probably dates to the transition between the Bronze Age and Iron Age, from 500 BC up to the year 1.

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).
 
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#14
Bronze Age skeleton found in garden by man building a shed
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ire ... 38870.html
EOGHAN MacCONNELL

Fri, Feb 25, 2011

AN ARCHAEOLOGY enthusiast in Co Westmeath has unearthed human remains dating back more than 4,000 years in his back garden.

The National Museum of Ireland has described as “significant” the find by Pat Tiernan at Rickardstown, Collinstown.

Mr Tiernan had been excavating soil for the construction of a “lean-to”, or shed, at the rear of his home when a spell of bad weather led to a small landslide.

“I looked out the window and saw bones protruding out the back and I saw the pot, and then I kind of knew what I was looking at,” Mr Tiernan said.

“They looked too big for ordinary animal bones and too small for large animal bones. I kinda clicked it because I was used to looking at a bit of the Time Team.”

After a visit to Newgrange, Mr Tiernan developed an interest in ancient Irish art and archaeology. He contacted specialists about the find.

A team from the National Museum arrived at the house this week and removed the bones and pot. “They reckon it is between 4,000-4,500 years old,” Mr Tiernan said.

Assistant keeper at the National Museum Pádraig Clancy attended the site along with the assistant keeper Dr Andy Halpin and the conservator, Carol Smith.

Mr Clancy said the gender of the remains had yet to be determined. “The very interesting thing about Rickardstown is a similar bowl was found by a Mr Thomas O’Farrell in the 1940s” at a quarry nearby, Mr Clancy added.

This find fits the Bronze Age burial tradition of often isolated burials. Three distinct areas of decoration had been identified on the bowl, he added.

According to Mr Clancy, the remains, which were buried in a slightly flexed crouch position, and the bowl could date from as far back as 2200 BC.

Thanking Mr Tiernan, he said: “We are very grateful to him. Due to his prompt recognition of it, it did save the bulk of the vessel. It did aid in the bowl being in the state that it is at the moment.”

The remains will be analysed and preserved at the National Museum and Mr Tiernan and members of his family will be able to view them on request.
 

rynner2

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#15
What caused Britain's Bronze Age 'recession'?

A large gap in pre-history could signal that Britain underwent an economic downturn over 2,500 years ago.
In history lessons, the three ages of pre-history - Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age - seem to flow together without a gap.
But there is a 300-year period in British history between around 800 BC and 500 BC where experts still struggle to explain what happened, where bronze is in decline and iron was not widely used.

"By 1000 BC the bronze axe had become almost a proto-currency," says historian and presenter Neil Oliver.
"It was wealth that was divorced from its use as a metal. And, a little like economic bubbles that we see today, it spelt danger.
"Attitudes to bronze were about to change, with dramatic consequences not only for Bronze Age elite, but for all British society.
"By 800 BC, Britain - along with the rest of Europe - was heading for an economic meltdown."

The difficult thing for historians and archaeologists alike, is that no-one knows for sure what caused this decline.
"It's one of the big problems," says Timothy Champion, professor of archaeology at the University of Southampton.
"There are all sorts of explanations that people have suggested, including climatic change, environmental destruction caused by over-exploitation or even internal revolution by the exploited peasantry.
"Alternatively, it could be external invasions - there is no generally agreed explanation for what looks like a major event."

What is known is around this time, is that bronze in Britain was beginning to be dumped.
There are a number of archaeological sites around Britain where large amounts of bronze, specifically axeheads, have been recovered, such as the one at Langton Matravers, Dorset. This is important because of the way historians believe bronze was used in ancient society.


"The significance of [copper and bronze] is as much social as it is a tool," says Sue Hamilton, professor of prehistory at University College London.
"It was made into ornaments and smaller objects. Copper was used so people had ways of adorning and distinguishing themselves but it's not until the late Bronze Age until you have a full set of tools."

So if the idea of status was beginning to turn away from bronze without anything to replace it, social upheaval, it is believed, was inevitable.
"This is a time of crisis", says archaeologist Niall Sharples, of Cardiff University.
"Bronze is used for all sorts of things, but primarily it's creating relationships of status within communities.
"When the bronze goes, you have to find social mechanisms to structure that society."

But what caused the value of bronze to lose its value? Could it be the fault of the impending Iron Age?
"There is iron in the Mediterranean by around 1200 BC," says Prof Hamilton.
"It became more evident in Italy around 1000 BC [and] it was cropping up in a variety of places. This is much earlier than we ever imagined."

But because iron rarely appeared in Britain before around 600 BC, many question whether this could have had a trickle-down effect.
"There were major changes in society but I don't think it was because of iron," says Sir Barry Cunliffe, emeritus professor of European archaeology at the University of Oxford.
"There were many, many factors that were at work in European society.
"There is a globalisation, if you like, of Europe.

"The acquisition of the efficient riding horse from the East comes slowly, but it really gets under way around 800 BC. It is an item of great prestige. Horse riding takes over as a thing of display in the social structure.
"The other thing that happens in society is that links with the Mediterranean improve.
"Colonies began trading Greek ideas and standards into barbarian Europe."

And scientists have recently discovered something else interesting about the period - evidence of severe climate change.
Results suggest that around the time of the bronze being dumped, there was a sharp decline in temperature, all revealed by the midge population.
"Different midge species are happiest at different temperatures, so when it suits them they're going to be extremely abundant," says Stephen Brooks, of the Natural History Museum.
"We find there's a big change in the midges in a very short period of time - maybe over 50 years or so.
"And this corresponds to other evidence from pollen and from peat bogs where, similarly, the evidence is temperature declined and rainfall increased."

And without the technology to quite literally weather the storm, it is thought that this had dire consequences.
"As bronze economy was collapsing, Britain's population also fell - possibly for the first time since the Ice Age," says Neil Oliver.
"This was a dual crisis that was driving Britain into a period of social turmoil… a crisis that would utterly reshape British society.
"What we're seeing in the early Iron Age is a changing belief. It's as if the people of Britain - hit by climate change in different ways - are having to reassess their lives and their place in the great scheme of things in new ways."

By around 550 BC, it is thought that the decline had ended and the climate had stabilised.
Iron, despite being used across Europe for nearly 1,000 years, began to appear across Britain in increasing quantities. And this created a revolution in farming and food production.
"The time of crisis was becoming a distant memory and the population of Britain grew rapidly," says Neil Oliver.
"Agricultural surplus lay at the heart of a newly emerging economy… and that depended heavily on iron. Unlike bronze, it wasn't the preserve of the elite.
"And that together with its strength and new widespread availability was set to transform society and push us one more step into the modern world."

A History of Celtic Britain airs on Thursday 7 April, BBC Two 2100 BST.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12989605
 

Mal_Adjusted

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#16
despite the annoying cutting to stock footage of modern cities (or Neil Oliver walking in a city) the prog was extremely interesting.

BBC iPlayer has it to download as well as streaming:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0 ... e_of_Iron/

-------------------------------------------------------------

About that hoard of 400 bronze axe heads, the prog failed to properly contextualise it.
Was there anything special about the isle of Purbeck (is it a known location for cross-channel trade?) Were there other deposits locally etc.

there's an account here that helps with context:
http://www.wessexarch.co.uk/book/export/html/170

Whatever it was it must have been a deliberate act, one that was respected by others (as it wasn't disturbed after burial)(or maybe only a few people knew of the burial?), and involved a relatively small group of people (there's probably too much for an individual to carry) - there's no evidence of any ceremonial event occurring at the same time so unlikely to be a socially endorsed event. The axe heads don't seem to be have been used for anything utilitarian, suggesting an exchange/ status purpose. It seems unlikely that they were gathered by a small group over a wide area to be deposited in one place. More likely (?) is that they were produced as a batch and then dumped when it was discovered that the value of them had dropped so much that they were valueless?
 

rynner2

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#17
Mal_Content said:
Was there anything special about the isle of Purbeck (is it a known location for cross-channel trade?)
The Isle is bordered on the NE by Poole Harbour, so it may well have been on nautical trade routes.

And to the east, Swanage and Studland bays have landing beaches that are well sheltered in westerly weather.
 

rynner2

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#19
Mal_Content said:
Time Team did a dig on Green Island in Poole harbour:
http://www.channel4.com/history/microsi ... green.html

but that seems to have been mainly iron age, not late bronze age. However there still remains the possibility of it being a cross-channel harbour in the bronze age ?
Don't know for sure. First thoughts are that sea level would have been lower then. But as sea levels rose the harbour (like all tidal harbours) would have continued to silt up, so probably the harbour was about as deep then as it is now.

Wiki says:
In 1964 during an archeological dig by the York Archaeological Trust, the fortified remains of a 2000 year old Iron Age longboat were found preserved in the mud off Brownsea Island. Dated at 295 BC, the 10 metres (33 ft) Poole Logboat is the earliest known artifact from the harbour. It would have been based at Green Island in the harbour, and carried up to 18 people. It is thought to have been used for continental trade and was estimated to have weighed 14 tonnes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poole_Harbour#History
If it was a Channel port then, why not a few hundred years earlier? Rising sea levels and continued silting could well have buried earlier artefacts.
 
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#20
Inverness campus site's Bronze Age past revealed
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-h ... s-13131884

Concept art of new Inverness College The campus would provide a new base for Inverness College

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Evidence of Bronze and Iron Age settlements have been found on the site of the proposed new Inverness Campus.

The remains of timber-built roundhouses and crop marks have been recorded at East Beechwood.

Archaeologists have also uncovered a flint flake and fragments of prehistoric pottery, including Neolithic grooved ware.

AOC Archaeology Group surveyed the site for developer Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The campus would provide a new base for Inverness College and the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI).

Researchers and businesses are also expected to set up on the site.

HIE said the completed project could potentially support up to 6,000 jobs over the next 30 years and generate more than £38m a year for the economy.

AOC surveyed the site in October 2010 and a report on finds made has now been uploaded on Highland Council's Historic Environment Record.

In the report, archaeologists said there was "extensive evidence of prehistoric activities" at East Beechwood.

They have recommended a strategy be produced on how to record the evidence and artefacts.
 

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#21
Cornish Bronze Age hoard goes on display

A Bronze Age hoard uncovered by a gardener on an island off Cornwall in 2009 is on public display.
The collection of 47 artefacts, found on St Michael's Mount, is on display in the island's castle.

Pieces - including axe-heads, daggers, ingots and a complete metal clasp - have been verified by the British Museum as being about 3,000 years old.
Archaeologists said the objects probably belonged to a blacksmith who had hidden them away for later use.

The objects were discovered by Darren Little when he was clearing ivy and found an opening in some rock.
"I first found a small axe head, and, after some more investigation, founds ingots, pieces of swords and chisels," he said.

Although the age of the objects has been identified, archaeologists said they were not sure how they came to be where they were found.
National Trust archaeologist Jim Parry said: "They could have been stashed away when he was doing a deal and he didn't want to bring them with him, or it could have been a safe bit of overnight storage.
"He could have had a smith's working area in front of him and just tucked some pieces behind him, forgot about them and moved on."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-13320959
 

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#22
BTW, it seems possible that 3000 years ago St Michaels Mount was not the familiar island we know today. Its Cornish name is Karrek Loos y'n Koos meaning "grey rock in the woods". It may have become an island when the sea rose, but physical evidence and historical records seem to disagree on when that was.
Remains of trees have been seen at low tides following storms on the beach at Perranuthnoe, but radiocarbon dating established the submerging of the hazel wood at about 1700 BC.[1] The chronicler John of Worcester[2] relates under the year 1099 that St. Michael's Mount was located five or six miles from the sea, enclosed in a thick wood, but that on the third day of the nones of November the sea overflowed the land, destroying many towns and drowning many people as well as innumerable oxen and sheep; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records under the date 11 November 1099, "The sea-flood sprung up to such a height, and did so much harm, as no man remembered that it ever did before".[3] The Cornish legend of Lyonesse, an ancient kingdom said to have extended from Penwith toward the Isles of Scilly, also talks of land being inundated by the sea.

...

The Mount may be the Mictis of Timaeus, mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia (IV:XVI.104), and the Ictis of Diodorus Siculus.[citation needed] Both men had access to the now lost texts of the ancient Greek geographer Pytheas, who visited the island in the fourth century BC. If this is true, it is one of the earliest identified locations in the whole of western Europe and particularly on the island of Britain.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Michael%27s_Mount
But Nigel Pennick, in Lost Lands and Sunken Cities, 1987, says that the 1086 Domesday book entry on the land of St Michael gives it as thirty times its present area, and does not describe it as an island.

All very confusing!
 

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#23
The trouble is, there are other St Michael's in Cornwall, as he is one of the county's patron saints. Browsing the internet for other info, I discovered that his Saint's Day is tommorrow:

The Truro Diocesan Calendar keeps "St. Michael, Protector of Cornwall," on its feast of special Cornish importance of May 8th

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/lawrence.r ... saints.htm

8)
 

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#24
Early Bronze Age battle site found on German river bank
By Neil Bowdler, Science reporter, BBC News

Fractured human remains found on a German river bank could provide the first compelling evidence of a major Bronze Age battle.
Archaeological excavations of the Tollense Valley in northern Germany unearthed fractured skulls, wooden clubs and horse remains dating from around 1200 BC.
The injuries to the skulls suggest face-to-face combat in a battle perhaps fought between warring tribes, say the researchers.

The paper, published in the journal Antiquity, is based primarily on an investigation begun in 2008 of the Tollense Valley site, which involved both ground excavations and surveys of the riverbed by divers.
They found remains of around 100 human bodies, of which eight had lesions to their bones. Most of the bodies, but not all, appeared to be young men.
The injuries included skull damage caused by massive blows or arrowheads, and some of the injuries appear to have been fatal.

One humerus (upper arm) bone contained an arrow head embedded more than 22mm into the bone, while a thigh bone fracture suggests a fall from a horse (horse bones were also found at the site).

The archaeologists also found remains of two wooden clubs, one the shape of a baseball bat and made of ash, the second the shape of a croquet mallet and made of sloe wood.

Dr Harald Lubke of the Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology in Germany said the evidence pointed to a major battle site, perhaps the earliest found to date.
"At the the beginning of the Neolithic, we have finds like Talheim in Germany, where we have evidence of violence, but it doesn't look like this situation in the Tollense Valley where we have many humans there in the riverbed," he told the BBC.
"We have a lot of violence from blunt weapons without any healing traces, and we have also evidence of sharp weapons. There are a lot of signs that this happened immediately before the victims died and the bodies are not buried in the normal way."

The archaeologists found no pottery, ornaments or paved surfaces which might be suggestive of formal graves or burial rituals.
Many of the bones appear to have been transported some distance by the river, although some finds appear to be in their original position.
The researchers suggest the bodies may have been dumped in the river before being washed away and deposited on a sandbar. Alternatively, the dead could have been killed on the spot in "the swampy valley environment", the paper concludes.

Dr Lubke believes the real conflict may have been fought out further up the river, and that the bodies so far found represent just a fraction of the carnage wrought by the battle.
"This is only a sample, what we have found up until now - the modern river bed only cuts across part of the river bed of that time. There are likely to be many more remains.
"It's absolutely necessary to find the place were the bodies came into the water and that will explain if it really was a battle or something else, such as an offering, but we believe that a fight is the best explanation at the moment."

Evidence was also found among the human remains of a millet diet, which is not typical of Northern Germany at the time, which the researchers say may betray the presence of invaders.
While bronze pins of a Silesian design could suggest contact with the Silesian region 400km to the south-east, they say.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13469861
 
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#25
Guernsey prehistoric site to be excavated
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe- ... y-13646937

Pottery and flint dating back to 2500 BC were found in March 2009

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Guernsey States' archaeologist hopes to get a better understanding of early prehistoric settlements in the island with a major new excavation.

The study is being carried out ahead of work to extend the runway safety areas at Guernsey Airport.

The site will be raised by 2-3m (7-10ft) during the work.

Dr Philip de Jersey said the Neolithic and Bronze Age settlement could provide a valuable insight into some of the island's earliest inhabitants.

'Poorly understood history'
Evidence of a settlement in the field next to La Mare Road, dating back to around 2500 BC, was discovered during initial investigations in March 2009.

Dr de Jersey said that while a number of burial sites from the same era had been discovered, this was a rare example of early prehistoric settlement in Guernsey.


Dr de Jersey said he hoped to discover how the early islanders lived
Further excavations involving museum and Public Services staff are expected to build up a more detailed picture of the area and its historic past.

Dr de Jersey said: "We have some good research on how our ancient ancestors buried their dead, but little evidence of how they lived.

"This is a poorly understood phase of Guernsey's history, so the airport site presents a welcome opportunity to improve knowledge of this period. From that perspective, it is very significant.

"By excavating the area we will be effectively removing whatever history lies underneath the current fields.

"However, in the historical context, the real value is in being able to document what is currently there and what that tells us about out ancient ancestors, rather than preserve it."

Pottery and flint was discovered in some of the 16 test pits, each 2 sq m in size (7 sq ft), dug when the initial investigations were carried out in March 2009.

Further trenches then uncovered evidence of settlement, including a number of ditches and pits, which could be associated with industrial processes.

Work in the field next to La Mare Road is due to start this week and last for six weeks.

Public Services will begin by removing the topsoil from eight large trenches across the site down to a level of about 50cm (20ins) below the current ground level. The previous finds were mostly found about 65cm (25ins) down.

Guernsey Museums staff and volunteers will then be able to excavate further to make a more detailed assessment of the area.
 

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#26
Bronze age man's lunch: a spoonful of nettle stew
Archaeological dig reveals hundreds of objects, from six oak-tree boats to a bowl of food
Dalya Alberge The Observer, Sunday 4 December 2011

Six boats hollowed out of oak tree trunks are among hundreds of intact artefacts from 3,000 years ago that have been discovered in the Cambridgeshire fens, the Observer can reveal.

The scale, quality and condition of the objects, the largest bronze age collection ever found in one place in Britain, have astonished archaeologists – and barely a fraction of the site has been excavated.

Unique textile fragments, wicker baskets and wooden sword handles have survived. There are even containers of food, including a bowl with a wooden spoon still wedged into the contents, now analysed as nettle stew, which may have been a favourite dish in 1000BC. The boats – two of which bear unusual decoration – are in such good condition that the wood grain and colour can be seen clearly, as can signs of repairs by their owners.

David Gibson, head of Cambridge University's archaeological unit, said the discoveries were internationally important. "One canoe would be great. Two, exceptional. Six almost feels greedy," he said. Mark Knight, the unit's senior project officer, added: "We talk about bronze age landscapes and it always feels as if we're looking through a very narrow window, with the curtains partly drawn or slightly misted over. Now it's as though someone's opened the windows and we're seeing so much more."

The artefacts survived because they were immersed in deep layers of peat and silt. When those layers are lifted off, "the objects are so pristine", Knight said, "it's as if 3,000 years never happened. The softest, wettest deposits ensured that past activity has been cosseted."

The artefacts were submerged under an ancient watercourse along the southern edge of the Flag Fen Basin, land altered over millennia by rising sea levels. In the 17th century the Dutch showed how to drain waterlogged land, and today the site east of Peterborough is accessible. Knight said: "In our [bronze age] landscape… you could have walked along the bottom of the fenland basin and to the bottom of the North Sea hunting for deer. By the Roman period, you were perched up at Peterborough, looking out over a huge wet expanse of peat and reed swamp." At ground level, there had been no clue to the artefacts' existence because they were so deep – four metres below ground – and would not have been picked up by aerial, radar, or other exploratory surveys.

The excavation, which is likely to continue for years, has been made possible thanks to Hanson, a bricks and cement supplier. Under planning regulations, the company is obliged to fund archaeological digs, but it has been especially helpful, say the archaeologists. Crucially, and unusually, they were able to excavate down to unprecedented depths since Hanson's need for clay for bricks requires extraction at Jurassic age levels. Knight said: "So we get to see entire buried landscapes. Some of our colleagues try to find ways of getting to the bottom of the North Sea… [while] we get an early view of the same submerged space, but via the humble brick."

Along the 150-metre stretch of a bronze age river channel, they have found the best preserved example of prehistoric river life. There are weirs and fish traps in the form of big woven willow baskets, plus fragments of garments with ornamental hems made from fibrous bark and jewellery, including green and blue beads. Extensive finds of metalwork include bronze swords and spears, some apparently tossed into the river in perfect condition, possibly as votive offerings. One of the boats is 8.3 metres long. "It feels as if you could get the whole family – granny, grandad, a couple of goats and everything – in there," said Knight. The smallest boat is just over four metres long.

The finds reveal how, with the rise in water levels in the bronze age, people adapted to a wetland environment, using rivers for transport, living off pike, perch, carp and eel. How far they could travel in the log boats is unclear. Although the boats were unlikely to have been used at sea, one of the bronze age swords is of a type normally found in northern Spain.

Once removed from the fenland, the artefacts must be conserved before eventual public display. Knight said: "Often at an excavation, it takes much imagination for it to become apparent. This site doesn't need that. It's intact. It feels as if we've actually caught up the [bronze age] people. It feels like we're there."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/ ... gy-fenland
 

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#27
Prehistoric cybermen? Sardinia's lost warriors rise from the dust
David Keys Friday 17 February 2012

An elite force of prehistoric warriors – carved from solid rock in the western Mediterranean 2700 years ago – is rising from oblivion.
Archaeologists and conservation experts on the Italian island of Sardinia have succeeded in re-assembling literally thousands of fragments of smashed sculpture to recreate a small yet unique army of life-size stone warriors which were originally destroyed by enemy action in the middle of the first millennium BC.

It’s the only group of sculpted life-sized warriors ever found in Europe. Though consisting of a much smaller number of figures than China’s famous Terracotta Army, the Sardinia example is 500 years older and is made of stone rather than pottery.

After an eight year conservation and reconstruction program, 25 of the original 33 sculpted stone warriors – archers, shield-holding ‘boxers’ and probable swordsmen – have now been substantially re-assembled.

The warriors were originally sculpted and placed on guard over the graves of elite Iron Age Sardinians, buried in the 8 century BC. The stone guardians are thought to have represented the dead individuals or to have acted as their eternal body-guards and retainers.

However, within a few centuries, the Carthaginians (from what is now Tunisia) invaded Sardinia – and archaeologists suspect that it was they who smashed the stone warriors (and stone models of native fortress shrines) into five thousand fragments. It’s likely that the small sculpted army - and the graves they were guarding - were seen by the invaders as important symbols of indigenous power and status.

The site was abandoned and forgotten. Carthaginian control of Sardinia gave way to Roman, then Vandal, then Byzantine, Pisan, Aragonese, Spanish, Austrian, Savoyard and finally Italian rule.

The thousands of fragments were rediscovered only in the 1970s – and were excavated in the early 1980s by Italian archaeologist Carlo Troncheti. Two of the statues were then re-assembled – but the vast majority of the material was put into a local museum store where it stayed until 2004 when re-assembly work on the fragments was re-started by conservators in Sassari, northern Sardinia.

Sardinia’s newly recreated ‘stone army’ is set to focus attention on one of the world’s least known yet most impressive ancient civilizations – the so-called Nuragic culture which dominated the island from the 16 century BC to the late 6 century BC. Its Bronze Age heyday was in the mid second millennium BC - roughly from the 16 to the 13 century BC, when it constructed some of the most impressive architectural monuments ever produced in prehistory.

Even today, the remains of 7000 Nuragic fortresses (the oldest castles in Europe) still dominate the landscape of Sardinia. Several dozen have stood the test of time exceptionally well – and give an extraordinary impression of what Sardinian Bronze Age military architecture looked like.

The re-assembled stone army is expected to go on display from this summer at southern Sardinia’s Cagliari Museum, 70 miles south-east of the find site, Monte Prama in central Sardinia.

Many of the stone warriors are armed with bows or protected by shields – and wear protective carved stone armour over their chests and horned stone helmet over their heads. Some of the fighters – those believed to portray boxers – carry shields in their left hands, held aloft over their heads. These ‘boxers’ may well have represented or embodied shield-bearers serving the high-ranking members of the Sardinian Iron Age interred in the adjacent graves.

There were also a series of at least ten model Nuragic castles of different designs – some single-towered and others sporting more elaborate ‘multi-tower’ fortifications.
It’s likely that the models represent the actual monumental buildings (Bronze Age fortresses transformed into Iron Age ‘ancestral’ shrines) associated with each buried individual’s immediate family.

The ruling elite of this part of Sardinia may well have been a relatively tightly knit group of closely related individuals. For scientific work carried out on the skeletal material at a laboratory in Florence, suggests that most of the dead individuals were from just two generations of a single extended family.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/scien ... 88952.html
 
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#28
Possibly even a bear paw-print! Pursuing the rest no doubt!

Ancient footprints found in peat at Borth beach
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-mid-wales-17353470

The footprints have been found in an area of exposed peat, along with holes which could have supported a causeway across ancient salt marshes

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Human and animal fossilised footprints that may be from the Bronze Age have been exposed on a Ceredigion beach.

Archaeologists are racing against changing tides to record and excavate the find in peat at Borth, which gives a snapshot of a time when the shore lay further west.

The team believes the footprints could be 3,000 to 4,000 years old.

Staff and students from the University of Wales Trinity St David are carrying out the work.


A child's footprint and the cast taken of it in the peat at Borth
As well as the footprints, a line of post holes has been found, which could have been a causeway.

They lie across an area that would have been salt marsh when the footprints were made.

The Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments is providing survey support, mapping the extent of the peat and other exposed features.

Submerged forests have been found further north on the beach and nearby in the past.

Dr Martin Bates is one of the archaeologists leading the excavation team, and it was his father, retired geologist Denis Bates, who discovered the footprints last month.

Dr Bates told BBC Wales' news website: "My father has had an interest in submerged forests for many years.

"He was down in February as this part of the beach was very clear.

"For various reasons the patterns of sand movement have been temporarily altered and it means this area of beach has been stripped of sand.

"He noticed the marks and told me they didn't look natural."


Archaeologists and students carry out the work on Borth beach in a race against shifting sands
He estimates they have a window of a few months to log the discoveries and take samples away for environmental testing before the sands shift again and cover the footprints up.

"In the context of Ceredigion and west Wales, it's the first time we have found this type of evidence.

"The submerged forests [nearby] are probably the most significant in the UK.

"What we have never had before is documented evidence of human habitation."

'Quite special'

Dr Bates added that there were a range of footprints discovered, including cattle, sheep or goat and possibly a bear.

However the one which resonates with him is a print which belonged to a young child.

"We have got a footprint of a four-year-old's foot where we can see the toes and everything.

"I can stand where this child was standing about 4,000 years ago and even though we would have been seeing different things, the intimacy of that is quite special."

Work in previous years on submerged forests found on the area to the north has established that a forest was growing in the area between 3000 and 2500 BC.

The area was gradually waterlogged with peat growth. A number of finds in the area included a Mesolithic composite tool of antler, two flints, an auroch (extinct ox) skeleton and a piece of antler.
 
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#29
'Prehistoric' antler hammerhead and human skeleton unearthed in Burren
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ire ... 01886.html

Thu, Mar 22, 2012

A leading archaeologist has described the discovery of what is a likely “prehistoric” antler hammerhead at a Burren cave as hugely exciting.

Dr Marion Dowd of IT Sligo said a 10-day excavation at a small cave on Moneen Mountain outside Ballyvaughan, Co Clare, also produced the “poignant” discovery of a skeleton of a teenager thought to have sought shelter in the cave.

Carbon dating found the skeletal bones date from the 16th or 17th century.

The skull of the skeleton and the antler hammerhead were discovered by cavers last June, prompting the National Museum Service to fund the excavation led by Dr Dowd last August.

She presented the results last night in the Burren village of Tubber at a Burrenbeo talk and said the cave was used in the Bronze Age or 3,000 years ago and again at the end of the medieval period.

Dr Dowd said “the discovery of the fabulous antler hammerhead is hugely exciting. I can’t find any other parallels in Irish archaeology.”

The antler came from a red deer stag aged over 6½ years old. She said the hammerhead “is likely to be prehistoric” but tests have yet to be completed to confirm the date.

Dr Dowd said DNA tests are required to determine the sex of the teenager. “The bones show . . . the skeleton is somewhere between 350 and 500 years old.”
 

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#30
Not a new discovery, but a new chance to view:

Penlee Museum shows Bronze Age necklace Penwith lunula

A Bronze Age necklace found in Cornwall in the 18th Century has returned to the county after being housed at the British Museum for more than 150 years.
The necklace, known as Penwith lunula, has been loaned to the Penlee House Gallery and Museum in Penzance.
The crescent-shaped gold collar is thought to date back to the early Bronze Age - possibly to 2500 BC.

It was discovered in the Gwithian area of the county in 1783 and recorded by local man John Price.
Alison Bevan, director of the Penlee, said: "I had butterflies as it was put on display.
"It's absolutely exquisite and really exciting to have it on loan."

Since 1838 it has been housed at the British Museum, but it will be on display in Cornwall for the foreseeable future.
In 2011, the lunula was on show at the Penlee for a few weeks, but Ms Bevan said it was the first time it had been on display for an extended period.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-17745523

(Of interest to me, because Gwithian is just across St Ives bay from Knill's Monument, which was built in 1782.)
 
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