HOARD

Unique ID: SUSS-C5D042

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find validated and published by finds advisers

Treasure Case 2011 T192 'Near Lewes' Hoard: The Barbican House Museum in Lewes and the Sussex Archaeological Society hope to acquire.

Curatorial Report:

A Middle Bronze Age hoard consisting of 79 objects including: 3 copper alloy palstaves; 5 copper alloy 'Sussex Loop' bracelets; 8 copper alloy finger rings; 4 copper alloy tutuli (with fragments); 4 sheet gold discs; 1 copper alloy lozenge-headed pin; 19 amber beads (with fragments); 4 copper alloy twisted torcs; as well as fragments of coiled spiral ring necklaces and quoit headed pins were located within and excavated with one large ceramic vessel.

Catalogue

1. Copper alloy palstave (Rowlands Type: Class 2, group 2, side-flanged). It has a prominent medial rib running from the centre of the stop ridge. The medial rib is also present on the butt, however it is significantly shorter. The stop is squared, and the patina is green in part except for heavily corroded areas (the butt mainly) which appear chalky in texture and are grey. The cutting edge is chipped.

Weight: 604.1g, Max Length: 182.49mm, Max Width: 74.00mm

2. Copper alloy palstave (Rowlands Type: Class 2 group 3 side-flanged). It has a prominent medial rib running down the centre of the blade, with four/ five short ribs set in the depression below the stop ridge. There are similar though shorter ribs present in the butt. The patina is green and pitted and the blade and butt tip are heavily corroded. The blade tip end is slightly miscast and there is evidence of casting sprues on one side.

Weight: 50.11g, Max Length: 172.98mm, Max Width: 69.66mm

3. Copper alloy (Rowlands Type: Class 2, group 2 side flanged). It has a prominent medial rib running from the centre of the stop ridge down the blade. The stop ridge is squared and the patina is green except for areas such as the medial rib that are (or once were) prominent which are polished and brown. The butt's tip is grey, pitted and heavily corroded.

Weight: 537.9g, Max Length: 172.8mm, Max Width: 64.49mm

4. Copper alloy Sussex loop bracelet. Plain and round-sectioned. The loop is made from one twisted bar. The patina of the Sussex loop is highly polished and shiny with sections of green and white corrosion especially towards and on the clasp. One of the clasp ends is chipped.

Weight: 345.4g, Max Length: 90.38 mm, Max Width: 81.49 mm
Max thickness of bar 10.34 mm

5. Copper alloy Sussex loop with lozenge cross section. The loop is made from one twisted bar. The patina of the Sussex loop is a shiny yellowish colour but with extensive green and white corrosion over all surfaces, consequently no identification can be made of any nick patterning which might be present. A break where the bracelet arm opens out to form the loop gives a large amount of mobility to that section, though the bar remains wrapped around the loop at the clasp. The end of one of the terminals is broken. Corrosion on both surfaces of the break suggests that the break is old.

Weight: 210.6g, Max Length: 86.93 mm, Max Width: 71.54mm
Thickness of bar at clasp 10.11mm

6. Copper alloy Sussex loop. Plain round section. The loop is made from one twisted bar. The patina of the Sussex loop is highly polished and shiny with some scratches and large sections of green and especially white corrosion.

Weight: 351.1g , Max Length: 90.06 mm, Max Width: 76.87 mm
Max thickness of bar 9.98 mm

7. Copper alloy Sussex loop. Plain round section. The loop is made from one twisted bar. Extensive green and white corrosion with bubbling effect over all surfaces. Some evidence of a matt yellowy patina underneath from the condition of the clasp.

Weight: 255.4g , Max Length: 83.55 mm, Max Width: 72.72 mm
Max thickness of bar 9.21 mm

8. Copper alloy Sussex loop. Lozenge section. The loop is made from one twisted bar. The patina of the Sussex loop is polished and shiny with a yellowish tint. The form is slightly misshapen which has led the terminals becoming unwrapped from the loop. Patches of green and white corrosion. The outside edge surface has a number of nicks which may potentially be tool marks or incised decoration of the surface.

Weight: 165.6g , Max Length: 80.34 mm, Max Width: 79.85 mm
Max thickness of bar 8.71 mm

9. Necklace fragment. Copper alloy spiral roll coiled around wire. The coil's wire has a round section. 4 coiled pieces of metal, one with a curved metal wire through it, and two loose piece of wire. One of the coils is heavily corroded and is very green in colour. The patina of the other segments is chalky and slightly yellow/white.

Weight: 11.5g, Diameter of wire 3.43mm, Diameter of coils 3.86-7.94mm.

10. Necklace fragment. Copper alloy spiral rolls and wire. The coil's wire has a round section. 13 small spiralled fragments and a piece of wire. The spirals are all corroded similarly and are a chalky grey colour with occasionally patches of green. The wire is less corroded and has a smooth and shiny brown patch.

Weight: 4.5g, Diameter of wire 2.06mm, Diameter of coils 4.78mm.

11. Necklace fragment. Copper alloy spiral roll. Half of the roll is chalky and corroded and the half of the fragment is a shiny grey colour. The coil wire has a round section.

Weight: 2.1g, Diameter of coil: 4.28mm, Length: 58.7mm.

12. Necklace fragment. 2 pieces of copper alloy spiral roll coiled around wire. The coil wire has a round section.

Total weight: 8.3g
a) Length: 55.15mm, Diameter of wire 2.36mm, Diameter of coils 5.85mm.
b) Length: 57.91mm, Diameter of wire 2.15mm, Length of wire 55.16mm

13. 9 necklace fragments. Copper alloy spiral roll coiled around a central wire. 1 major additional section of spiral roll and multiple fragments of copper alloy coils. The spiral has a round section. Patina has patches of white and green corrosion throughout the group with copper colour wire underneath and ends are sufficiently corroded to prevent reconstruction except by thickness of wire.

Diameter of wire section: 2.4mm, Diameter with coils: 4.76mm
Estimated diameter of complete necklace: 172mm
Weight: 49.1g

14. Copper alloy wires
a) Copper alloy wire clasp in 3 fragments. Patina is a distinctive very dark grey Weight: 5.00g, Diameter of wire 2.35mm, Total Length 110.49mm.
b) 2 copper alloy wire fragments (not certainly joined), one u shaped and one linear. Weight: 9.4g, Diameter of wire 2.96-4.16mm.
.
15 Copper alloy wire with tip bent at a right angle. ?Pin fragment.
Weight: 3.2g, Diameter of wire: 3.18, Length: 47.89mm.

16 Two hooks forming a copper alloy wire clasp, ?Necklace fragments.
Weight: 2.6g, Diameter of wire 2.43mm, Length 55.67mm.

17 Copper alloy quoit headed pin fragment broken into 3 sections with nick decoration along both edges of the rim of the head. Fragments appear to consist of the fork section and a separate section from the loop broken into 2 fragments. Patches of white and green corrosion.

Fork part Max Length: 92.63mm, Max Width: 71.39 mm
Joined loop fragments (2) Total Length: 68.24 mm, Max Width: 19.27 mm
Total Weight of 3 fragments: 23.4g.

18 Copper alloy quoit headed pin fragment. Pin and fork with part of loop survive broken into 4 sections. Terminus of the pin section is bent at 45 degrees. Surface on one side is largely covered with green and white corrosion, patina is shiny and dark brown where visible with no decoration apparent. The break between pin and loop is largely un-corroded which suggests it is relatively recent.

Total Weight: 36.4g , Max Length: 188.99 mm, Max Width: 128.31 mm

19 Copper alloy quoit headed pin stem without loop. The pin is curved slightly toward the tip, and is bent upwards. The pin gets thinner towards the tip which is sharp. The patina is green, white and corroded except for patches of smooth shiny yellow/brown which gets darker toward the tip.

Weight:18.6g, Max Length: 131.48mm, Max Width: 68.10, Thickness: 4.92mm,

20 Copper alloy quoit headed pin stem with missing loop. The bottom third of the pin is bent at an approximate right angle. The pin gets thinner towards the tip which is sharp. Large patches of green and white corrosion, with some bubbling.

Weight: 20.9g, Max Length: 154.65mm, Max Width: 75.67mm

21 Pin with a Lozenge-shaped plate attached, in 5 fragments. The Lozenge plate has a fixed loop attached to the reverse. All breaks on the 4 rod sections appear corroded. Small length of copper alloy wire. A possible sixth fragment was identified and has been added here.

(weigh and measure separately)

Weight: Total Weight 113.8g

22 Copper alloy fragments of tutulus.

Total Weight: 4.00g

23 Copper alloy coiled plain finger ring. One plain round sectioned copper alloy bar coiled on itself 3 times to make a ring. The patina is corroded in patches of green and white, except for a section that runs vertically down the bars which is smooth grey and shiny.

Weight: 49.6g External Diameter: 30.11mm Internal Diameter: 20.29mm Max Height: 17.22mm

24 Copper alloy coiled plain finger ring. One plain round sectioned copper alloy bar coiled on itself 3 times to make a ring. The patina is corroded and is mostly grey green in colour. The inside of the ring is smooth, grey and shiny and is less corroded. One of the terminus' has been broken off

Weight: 33.4g, Estimated External Diameter: 29.17mm, Estimated Internal Diameter: 19.51mm, Max Height: 21.65mm

25 Copper alloy coiled plain finger ring. One plain round sectioned copper alloy bar coiled on itself 3 times to make a ring. The patina is corroded and has patches of green and white, except for a section that runs vertically down the bars which is smooth grey and shiny. The top and bottom coils are smaller and begin to coil towards the inside of the ring rather than on top of the previous coil.

Weight: 24.1g, Estimated External Diameter: 28.43mm, Estimated Internal Diameter: 19.72mm Max Height: 16.18mm

26 Copper alloy coiled plain finger ring. One plain round sectioned copper alloy bar coiled on itself 6 times to make a ring. The patina is corroded and has patches of green and white, except for two vertical sections that run down the bars which are smooth and yellowy brown. The coils are also on an angle which slants the overall appearance of the ring. There are small chips on the 4th, 5th and 6th coil which reveals reddish corrosion deposits. The larger terminus has been broken off.

Weight: 33.1g, Estimated External Diameter: 27.96mm, Estimated Internal Diameter: 21.10mm Max Height: 24.61mm

27 Copper alloy coiled plain finger ring. One plain round sectioned copper alloy bar coiled on itself 5 times to make a ring. The surface of the ring is pitted, with green and white corrosion, with sections of shiny brown underneath. The ring is misshaped with the last two loops deformed. The ring coils now at an angle.

Weight: 19.4g, Estimated External Diameter: 29.29mm, Estimated Internal Diameter: 18.74mm, Max Height: 19.48mm

28 Copper alloy coiled plain finger ring. One plain round sectioned copper alloy bar (with hammering) coiled on itself 3 times to make a ring. The patina is corroded and has patches of green and white, with a slight shiny yellow brown coming through underneath the corrosion.

Weight: 15.4g, Estimated External Diameter: 24.17mm, Estimated Internal Diameter: 19.32, Max Height: 12.12mm

29 Copper alloy coiled plain finger ring. One plain sectioned hammered copper alloy bar coiled on itself 3 times to make a ring, giving a flatter edge on the top and bottom of the ring. The patina has patches of green and white corrosion, but the majority of the surface is smooth and shiny brown in colour.

Weight: 14.2g, Estimated External Diameter: 26.37, Estimated Internal Diameter: 20.67mm, Max Height: 13.32mm

30 Copper alloy coiled spiral twisted finger ring. One twisted bar coiled on itself 3 times making a ring. The twisted section is more visible on the inside of the ring, although slightly worn twists are also visible on the outside. The patina is corroded and has patches of green and white, except for two vertical sections (one larger than the other) that run down the bars which are smooth and grey. One of the terminals is much thinner than the other.

Weight: 45g, Estimated External Diameter: 34.04mm, Estimated Internal Diameter: 20.72mm, Max Height: 20.92mm

31 Copper alloy tutulus. Single metal sheet tutulus in 2 broken parts (cone and horizontally extending flange fragment) that join together to make a flat platform which the cone rises from. Out the top of the cone is a pin which is unattached and moves through a hole in the top. The pin has a head which prevents it escaping all the way through. The patina of the tutulus cone is green and corroded with a patch that is smooth and brown. The flange fragment is also green and corroded and there is evidence of a raised stripe pattern around the edge.

Weight: 2.9g, Max Length (fragments joined together): 39.82mm, Max Width (fragments joined together): 28.07mm, Max Height: 21.49mm

32 Copper alloy tutulus. Single metal sheet tutulus in 2 broken parts (cone with horizontally extending flange attached and a broken joining flattened flange piece) that come together to make a flat platform which the cone rises up from. Out the top of the cone is a pin which is attached and does not move freely through a hole, located in the centre at the top of the cone. The patina of the tutulus is light green/grey and corroded. The cone's flange has a raised flat section that curves around the base.

Weight: 2.8g, Max Length (fragments joined together): 39.70mm, Max Width (fragments joined together): 35.12mm, Max Height: 15.43mm

33 Copper alloy tutulus. Single metal sheet cone section of tutulus with large chips and breaks at the base. Out the top of the cone is a pin which is unattached and moves through a hole located in the centre and at the top of the cone. The pin has a head which prevents it escaping all the way through the top. The patina is dark and light green, heavily corroded and covered in small bumps.

Weight: 2.0g, Max Length: 29.63mm, Max Width: 27.39mm, Max Height: 20.98mm

34 Copper alloy tutulus. Single metal sheet tutulus 2 broken parts; cone with part of the horizontally extending flange attached and 2 pieces of the base which have become detached. From the top of the cone is a hole and inside a pin without a head, which is unattached and moves freely, easily become detached from the object. The patina is chalky, corroded, yellowy grey in colour, and has small sporadic patches of green.

Weight: 4.1g, Estimated diameter (fragments joined together) 49.03mm, Height: 20.45mm

35 Necklace fragment with amber bead. Copper alloy spiral rolls with an amber bead on a central wire. The coil's wire has a round section. The reddish-brown amber bead is sub-circular. The spirals and wire are all corroded similarly and are a chalky grey colour with occasionally patches of green.
Weight: 5.3g, Diameter of wire 2.00mm, Diameter of coils 5.57mm Length: 55.69. Diameter of bead 12.11mm.

36 Necklace fragment with amber bead. Copper alloy spiral rolls with an amber bead on a central wire. The coil's wire has a round section. The reddish-brown amber bead is oval shaped. The spirals are all corroded similarly and are a chalky grey colour with occasionally patches of green and areas of a shiny yellow underneath.
Weight: 7.00g, Diameter of wire 2.34mm, Diameter of coils 5.57mm, Length: 64.53mm Bead: max length 15.13mm max width 10.22mm

37 Spherical bead. ?possibly faience or ceramic with white inclusions and damage on one side.

Weight: 1.1g Diameter: 10.80mm.

38 Gold appliqué disc made from thin foil using a repoussé technique. It is decorated by embossing three concentric bands and then incising parallel dashes around a slightly raised central dome. The disc bears a backward lip around the edge with occasional minor tears. The disc has been malformed by flattening and bears some small patches of a white deposit on the back surface as well as on the front and some patches of a green corrosion deposit on the front.

Weight: 0.8g, Max diameter: 37.37mm. Depth: 3.37mm. Thickness of foil at lip 0.39 mm

39 Gold appliqué disc made from thin foil using a repoussé technique. It is decorated by embossing three concentric bands and then incising parallel dashes around a raised central dome. The disc bears a backward lip around the edge. The disc appears complete but the shape has been deformed on one half by folding. Brown deposits are left in a small patch on the inner surface of the lip and the back surface in general bears large white patches of deposit. The front surface has some speckles of green corrosion and a further patch of green corrosion which lies above the brown deposit noted on the reverse.

Weight: 1.1g Max diameter: 34.62 mm. Depth: 7.83mm. Thickness of foil at lip 0.26 mm

40 Gold appliqué disc made from thin foil using a repoussé technique. It is decorated by embossing three concentric bands and then incising parallel dashes around a raised central dome. The disc bears a backward lip around the edge. The disc is warped by several folds and a large depression from the front. The disc has some small perforations in the centre and at the fold of the lip. A small section of the lip is torn with the edge possibly missing several small fragments and some small strands of detached material can be seen. There are large patches of white deposit on the back surface and green corrosion deposits on a section of the front.

Weight: 0.8g Max diameter: 35.50mm. Depth: 8.48mm. Thickness of foil at edge of disc 0.13 mm

41 Gold appliqué disc made from thin foil using a repoussé technique. It is decorated by embossing three concentric bands and then incising parallel dashes around a raised central dome. The disc bears a backward lip around the edge. The disc is warped by a large fold and is misshapen with the lip flattened out on one side. The lip edge is damaged with 3 small tears. The back surface is largely covered by thick white deposit. The front surface has a band of green corrosion deposit and a band of thick white deposit along one side of the disc.

Weight: 1.6g Max diameter: 39.71mm. Depth: 13.04 mm. Thickness of foil at lip 0.25 mm

42 Amber bead, flat profile with a round shape and reddish-brown in colour. Probably for necklace.

Weight 0.2g, Diameter 8.99mm

43 Amber bead, flat profile with a round shape and reddish-brown in colour. Probably for necklace.
Weight 0.5g, Diameter 13.19mm

44 Amber bead, flat profile with an oval shape and reddish-brown in colour. Probably for a necklace.
Weight 0.3g, Max Diameter 10.02mm

45 Amber bead, flat profile with a round shape and reddish-brown in colour, pierced hole is particularly round. Probably for a necklace.
Weight 0.3g, Diameter 10.04mm

46 Amber bead, flat profile with an oval shape and reddish-brown in colour. Probably for a necklace.
Weight 0.2g, Diameter 9.64mm

47 Amber bead, flat profile with a round shape and reddish-brown in colour. Probably for a necklace.
Weight 0.2g, Diameter 9.48mm

48 Amber bead, flat profile with an oval shape and reddish-brown in colour. Length-wise crack in surface. Probably for a necklace.
Weight 0.4g, Diameter 11.60mm

49 Amber bead, flat in profile with a sub-round shape, cracked on one side. Reddish brown in colour. Probably for a necklace.
Weight 0.3g, Diameter 10.43mm

50 Amber bead, flat in profile with a round shape and reddish-brown in colour. Probably for a necklace.
Weight 0.2g, Diameter 9.76mm

51 Amber bead, flat profile with an oval shape and reddish-brown in colour. Probably for a necklace.
Weight 0.3g, Diameter 13.12 mm

52 Amber bead, flat profile with a round shape and reddish-brown in colour. Probably for a necklace.
Weight 0.1g, Diameter 7.70 mm

53 Amber bead, round shape in two pieces (a +b). Reddish brown in colour. Break appears recent. Probably for a necklace.
Total weight 0.3 g, total diameter 8.86mm

54 Broken amber bead, reddish brown in colour, comprising just over half of the bead. Originally round in shape.
Total weight 0.5 g, max diameter 18.63mm

55 Broken amber bead fragments, reddish brown in colour. Surface is pitted and worn.
a) Weight less than 0.1 g, max diameter 7.65 mm
b) Weight less than 0.1 g, max length 5.56 mm

56 Copper alloy spiral twisted torc in 2 near equal pieces - albeit with one half having a tighter twist than the other. The torc is formed from a spiral twisted rod tapering to 2 plain hooked terminals. The patina is dark grey at the ends but more yellow in the widest parts and is largely covered in a layer of patchy green and white corrosion deposits with some areas of the metal surface visible.
Total weight 81.7g
a) Weight: 51.7g, Length: 168.50 mm, Max Thickness: 6.78mm
b) Weight 30.0g, Length: 176.67 mm, Max Thickness: 6.68mm

57 Copper alloy spiral twisted torc in 1 piece, but with 1 end missing a terminal and the other missing a terminal and part of the body. It is formed from a twisted rod tapering toward the two missing ends. The round form of the torc is misshapen and slightly twisted. The patina is a strong yellow colour with large patches of green and white. The broken ends are highly corroded which suggests old breaks.

Weight: 76.4g, Length: 159.5 mm, Width: 158.17 mm, Max Thickness: 6.19mm

58 2 pieces comprising just over half of a Copper alloy spiral twisted torc. The main surviving length retains its spiral twist, but the form has been misshapen and partly straightened. The second part consists of a plain hooked terminal which retains its curved shape. Comparison of the narrow broken ends, which both show clean metal, and red discoloration of corrosion on both pieces suggests the terminal and the larger section were once joined and may have been broken recently. The patina is pale yellow with extensive but quite thin green and white corrosion with a small patch of red corrosion near the break.

Total Weight 56.7g, Total length: 212.68
a) Weight: 53.9g, Length: 193.39 mm, Max Thickness: 6.85mm
b) Weight 2.8g, Length: 31.21 mm, Max Thickness: 3.34mm

59 Copper alloy spiral twisted torc in 4 pieces. It is formed from a twisted rod with square section, which survives in 2 large sections, tapering toward the 2 plain terminals which have become detached. All breaks appear to be corroded which suggests they are old, but the form can be easily reconstructed and retains its shape. The patina is a shiny rich grey with yellow highlights and large sections of white and green corrosion. There are two large pits across the peak of the spiral decoration which appear recent.

Total Weight: 226.3g, Total max diameter 199.64 mm, Max Thickness: 10.51mm

60. Ceramic vessel. The rim and several parts of the upper body are missing with the base and lower body surviving. It may well be part of a plain large urn or a plain bucket urn. The remaining vessel is undecorated with a plain smooth surface and flint inclusions.
Total weight of all fragments 2330.8g
Largest fragment max height175mm, max thickness 14.25mm; max diameter 245mm
4 body fragments with a max diameter between 50mm and 150mm
29 fragments with a max diameter under 50 mm

Excavation Addendum

Further to the initial discovery and removal of the majority of the hoard, excavations were undertaken on 8th April 2011 in order to explore the context of the hoard, particularly focusing on the exact location of the Middle Bronze Age vessel and its immediate context. As the conditions for excavation were ideal (i.e. 'dry and bright'), a small team was able to thoroughly excavate a 3 x 3 meter trench within one day, including extensive sieving and metal detecting of the spoil heap. The concern was that due to its highly visible location and accessibility, a more extensive archaeological project would put the site at risk for illegal activity.

The County Archaeologists, HER Officer, and Finds Liaison Officer hope to return to the site as soon as possible to conduct geophysical survey, due to the discovery of a deep cut in the chalk, potentially indicating the end of a ditch or enclosure at one corner of the trench (Feature 4, Contexts 5 & 7 listed below). This type of feature seems to be consistent with other Middle Bronze Age hoards and vessels which have been discovered within the direct vicinity of enclosures from the period.

Items suggested for inclusion into the Treasure assemblage originate generally from Contexts 2 and 3: Context 2 being the backfill of the metal detected hole where the vessel and majority of the assemblage was found; Context 3, which consisted of subsoil throughout the trench, could be included if found to be appropriate.

Context 2 yielded a few additional objects, mostly fragments of amber beads, presumably from the coiled necklaces, two fragments of which had been found with beads still attached during the initial recovery by the finder. In addition to amber beads, a small amount of further coiled fragments were found within the context as well. Most of these objects were located during the intensive sieving process directly after removal and were probably missed due to their mainly non-metallic composition during the finder's initial search. No large objects or complex fragments were discovered during the excavation which would necessitate extensive reassessment of the entire assemblage.

Context 3 yielded a mixture of objects that seemed to be relatively mixed in dating; however, a few pieces of possible Bronze Age vessel were discovered that would be appropriate for inclusion in the treasure case, as it is likely they were part of the vessel. I would suggest that most items from this context should not be included, so it is the prerogative of the specialist if this context should be included in part.

A full list of contexts and features is listed here:

Context 1: Topsoil
Context 2: Backfill of Metal Detected hole [8]
Context 3: Subsoil
Feature 4: ?cut feature
Context 5: Fill of [4]
Context 6: Chalk bedrock
Context 7: Fill of [4] below Context 5
Context 8: Cut created by Metal Detectorist

All in all, the results of the excavations were useful in that they allowed us to assess more carefully the context of the cut within the chalk which facilitated the preservation of the bottom portion of the vessel and indeed the remaining assemblage interred with the vessel. A full post-excavation report will be forthcoming, but will not necessarily be appropriate to the valuation of the treasure assemblage which has been fully represented within this report.

No photographs have been taken of these objects before transport to the British Museum.

The following list is a catalogue of the objects found during the excavations which should be included in the Treasure report and evaluation:

TN11 Context 2


61. Copper alloy coil necklace frag: Length 12.7mm, diam 5.7mm, weight 0.85 grams
No central shaft
---

62. Amber bead, complete: Diam 15.8mm, thickness 8.0mm, weight 0.97 grams

63. Amber bead, complete: Diam 15.0mm, thickness 7.4mm, weight 0.88 grams

64. Amber bead, incomplete: Diam 18.5mm, thickness 7.9mm, weight 0.90 grams

65. Amber bead, incomplete: Diam 12.4mm, thickness 1.3mm, weight 0.46 grams

66. Amber bead, fragment: Length 18.0, width 10.9mm, weight 1.29 grams

67. Amber bead, fragment: Length 15.2mm, width 6.8mm, weight 0.17 gms

68. Amber bead, fragment: Length 10. 5mm, width 6.8mm, weight 0.14 gms

69. Amber bead, fragment: Length 10.0mm, width 6.3mm, weight 0.11 gms

---

70. Amber bead, incomplete: Diam 14.4mm, thickness 8.2mm, weight 0.64 gms

71. Amber bead, fragment: Length 15.7mm, width 7.4mm, weight 0.66 gms

72. Amber bead, fragment: Length 6.09mm, width 4.4mm, weight 0.17 gms


73. Amber bead, fragment: Length 9.2mm, width 5.6mm, weight 0.07 gms


74. Copper alloy coil necklace frag: Length 23.8mm, diam 6.5mm, weight 1.85 gms
No central shaft

75. Copper alloy coil necklace frag: Length 24.6mm, diam 4.9mm, 1.48 gms,
With shaft

76. Copper alloy necklace shaft: Length 26.3mm, diam 2.5mm, weight 0.79 gms


77. Copper alloy hook: Length 16.1mm, diam 1.71mm, weight 0.51 gms

78. Copper alloy coil necklace fragment: Diam 4.9mm, weight 0.07 gms

79. 1 bag containing 11 Bronze Age ceramic fragments: total bagged weight
24.4 gms, largest fragment length 30.8mm, max width: 29.3mm thickness 11.8mm

1 round stone ball, possibly natural: diam 20.4mm, weight 7.88 gms

Bag containing 6 assorted pieces of ceramic and flint: bagged weight 18.07 grams

TN11 Context 3

Square shafted Fe fragment, possibly nail or hook: Length 71.0mm, Thickness 8.0mm, weight 11.24 gms

2 Bronze Age ceramic fragments, residual and undiagnostic lithic waste, medieval- post medieval ceramic fragments, a piece of shell, 1 clay pipe fragment

13 iron nail fragments, 1 iron bolt fragment and 3 iron unidentified fragments all dating to post-medieval to modern

1 large fragment of ceramic building material and 20 smaller fragments, 3 pieces of modern glass, 1 ceramic fragment and 1 red earthenware fragment.

TN11 Context 5

2 shell fragments

Discussion

The objects in the 'Near Lewes' hoard can be dated typologically to the Middle Bronze Age (c. 1500-1100 BC). Their dating can be broken down according to type and metalwork phase (see Needham 1996, Needham et. al. 1997). The two Class 2 Group 2 side flanged palstaves, can be placed in the Taunton metalwork phase (c. 1400-1250 BC) (cf. Rowlands 1976, 31-32) or on the basis of finds in other regions possibly even in the Acton Park metalwork phase (c. 1500-1400 BC) (cf. Burgess 1964, 120; O'Connor 1980, 53). However, the Class 2, Group 3 side flanged palstaves occur only in Taunton metalwork phase (c. 1400-1250 BC) hoards (O'Connor 1980, 53). The 5 'Sussex Loop' bracelets, 8 finger-rings; 4 twisted torcs, 4 identifiable tutuli (or Monkswood ornaments) and Quoit-headed pin fragments are traditionally grouped in a Middle Bronze Age 'ornament horizon' which is now placed in the Taunton and Penard metalwork phases (c. 1400-1150 BC) (Smith 1959a; Roberts 2007). The coiled spiral ring fragments date typically to the central European late Middle Bronze Age Tumulus culture (1600-1300 BC). The other objects are less well dated with the sheet gold discs placed in the Middle Bronze Age in France (c. 1600-1300 BC) (Eluère 1981, 39-41). Only one of the lozenge-headed pins has been found before and the excavation context has not allowed especially precise dating (Curwen 1954, 202, Fig 62). The amber beads are not typologically diagnostic and are relatively rare in Britain during the Middle Bronze Age (Beck and Shennan 1991, 99-101). The vast majority of the objects were found together inside part of a plain large urn or bucket urn which are not a closely dated types beyond mid-late 2nd millennium BC (Ellison 1980, 32-34), it is possible to argue for a relatively narrow date of c. 1400-1250 BC for the deposition.

The distribution of the object types in the 'Near Lewes' hoard varies from the common and the local to the rare and the exotic. There are not only typical local and regional forms but also forms which are either rare or currently unknown in Britain and instead have continental origins. The Group 2 Class 2 side flanged palstaves have a relatively wide distribution across England south of a line between the Humber and the Mersey but are concentrated especially in the upper Thames area (O'Connor 1980, 52-3). Local parallels are known from Barnham, Sussex (Rowlands 1976, 231-2; plate 3, 127) and Nr Bognor, Sussex (O'Connor 1980, Fig 13C). However, Group 2 Class 3 palstaves have a more restricted range and, largely cluster, with a few outliers, south of the line of the Thames and tend to be a south coast type as at St. Leonards Marina, Sussex (Rowlands 1976, 269, Plate 3, no. 2). The two are often found together in hoards (Rowlands 1976, Map 4; O'Connor 1980, 53). The deposition of Class 2 Groups 2-3 palstaves is a feature typical of finds from the Brighton region and extends eastward to Kent (Rowlands 1976, 129). The presence of palstaves, but lack of other larger weapons such as rapiers, is consistent with the limited evidence for weapon deposition in the Sussex region (Rowlands, 1976, 129, 131). This pattern is apparently confirmed in the Nr. Lewes hoard with the lack of any rapier, dagger or spear fragments.

The 'Sussex loop' bracelets and Quoit-headed pins are insular varieties of Middle Bronze Age ornaments that are found only in southern England (Roberts 2007, 143; Pendleton in prep). 'Sussex loop' bracelets in particular are only found within the vicinity of Brighton. They are often found in pairs which may include a mixture of round and lozenge section as at Hollingbury Castle, Sussex (Rowlands 1976, 267) but the presence of an odd number is not particularly unusual but the 'Nr. Lewes' hoard does have the largest number of 'Sussex loop' bracelets so far discovered. Quoit headed pins are found south of a line between the Severn and the Wash (Rowlands, 1976, map 21; Pendleton in prep) and have been found with 'Sussex loop' bracelets in hoards such as East Dean, Sussex (Rowlands 1976, 266). The bronze spiral-twisted bar torcs are found mainly throughout southern England as at Hollingbury, Sussex where one was found accompanying four 'Sussex Loop' bracelets and three coiled finger rings (Rowlands 1976, 267) but with a concentration towards the southwest (Rowlands 1976, map 22; Roberts 2007, Fig 4. and Appendix). This is in contrast to the broader distribution of gold spiral-twisted bar torcs which are concentrated throughout western Britain but have also been found in eastern Britain (Roberts 2007, Fig 4. and Appendix). Bronze coiled finger rings are relatively numerous throughout southern England with a significant concentration in hoards in Sussex (Roberts 2007, Fig 4 and Appendix) as well as at the settlement site of Black Patch where they were apparently found placed on the settlement floor (Drewett 1982).

The pin with a Lozenge-shaped plate is a decidedly unusual find. The only previously published example of this pin was an apparently complete example found in a barrow or hoard 'between Brighton and Lewes' known as the Hanley Cross: this nearby hoard also contained a pair of Sussex Loop bracelets and a quoit headed pin and so again suggests a local tradition (Curwen 1954, 201-2; Rowlands 1976, 267). The tutuli or 'Monkswood ornament' is partially paralleled in the Monkswood hoard, Somerset where a 'small sheet bronze cone' was found but, unlike the 'Near Lewes' example, has no flange (Smith 1959b, Fig 16. Rowlands 1976, 257). It is more precisely paralleled in the 'disc-shaped fitting' - or small sheet bronze cone surrounded by a flange comprising two concentric corrugations found in the filling or a posthole in hut (roundhouse) 1 at the settlement site of Chalton, Hampshire (Cunliffe 1970, 11, Fig 5). Additionally, a Class 2 Group 2 palstave, identical to the 'Near Lewes' hoard was also found on the floor of hut (roundhouse) 1 (ibid.).

There have been no previous finds of the gold appliqué discs in Britain and the known finds have been confined to northern and central France. There are parallel finds from Magny-Lambert although the decoration is simpler (Eluère 1982, 39-41). The diameters, which range from c. 34-39 mm, are closer to that of an example from Barbuise-Courtavant (35mm, as compared to Magny Lambert 22mm, Eluère 1982, 40). The coiled spiral rolls on necklaces with amber beads are thought to be north German in origin (Sprockhoff 1956, 161-162) but coiled spiral rolls are relatively widespread and are evidenced in hoards such as Wolfersheim, Germany (Kubach 1977, Fig. 118) and Kolkhagen, Germany (Laux 1976, Fig 57). They have been found once before in Britain complete with rod fragments in an unpublished and little known West Ashling hoard, Chichester, West Sussex and now in Chichester Museum (Needham unpublished). It also contained quoit-headed pin fragments, an amber bead and tutuli. The few amber beads which have been found in Middle Bronze Age in Britain have are found near the coastal and major riverine areas of southern England (Beck and Shennan 1991, 99-101). The ceramic vessel appears to be typical for Sussex during the Later Bronze Age (Ellison 1980, 32-34).

There has never been a closely comparable hoard found in Britain beyond the little known from West Ashling hoard, West Sussex (Needham unpublished) which is of a similar size but still lacks the gold discs, 'Sussex Loop' bracelets and palstaves but contains spearhead fragments, saws and awls. The closest parallel might be the poorly documented Hanley Cross barrow or hoard (Curwen 1954, 202) although this lacks several object types and was apparently placed with a skeleton rather than in a ceramic vessel. The complete length of around 19 inches (48cm), with the lozenge-shaped plate around 4 inches (10cm) below the pin head suggests the potential dimensions of the 'Near Lewes' pin. The head of barrow find was flat with a central boss and the pierced eye behind the lozenge plate was suggested to have potential for the attachment of a cord or chain (Curwen 1954) but is not obviously a variant of the swollen neck pins as classically argued (Hawkes 1942, 41). The placing of hoards in pots is relatively rare in Britain during the Middle Bronze Age though is evidenced with Picardy pins at Ramsgate, Kent (Hawkes 1942) and 14 palstaves at Birchington, Kent (Coombs 1971, 403).

The continental connections evidenced in the 'Near Lewes' hoard can be clearly seen in the gold appliqué discs, the amber beads, tutuli or Monkswood ornament and the coiled spiral rolls which, with the rare exceptions of the amber beads and tutuli, have never before been found in Britain. The placing of the objects in a ceramic vessel is also very rare in Britain during the Middle Bronze Age and is far more common in northern France (e.g. Briard 1966, 288-91). These 'foreign' objects were placed with distinctive local forms such as the 'Sussex loop' bracelets and the pin with a Lozenge-shaped plate as well as with more typically widely distributed southern English objects such as Quoit-headed pins, Group 2 Class 2 and 3 palstaves and coiled finger rings. In this sense, the 'Near Lewes' hoard can be regarded as the most spectacular and overtly continental manifestation of a distinct region of Middle Bronze Age 'ornament horizon' hoards (Roberts 2007, Fig 4 and 6, Region C).

Conclusion

The objects qualify as Treasure under the stipulations of the Treasure Act (1996) (Designation Order 2002).

References

Beck, C., & Shennan, S., 1991. Amber in Prehistoric Britain. Oxford: Oxbow.

Briard, J. 1966, Les Dépôts bretons et l'âge du Bronze Atlantique. Rennes.

Burgess, C. 1964. A palstave from Chepstow. The Monmouthshire Antiquary 1 (4), 267-72.

Coombs, D. 1971. Late Bronze Age metalwork in the south of England. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Cambridge.

Cunliffe, B. 1970. Bronze Age settlement at Chalton, Hants (Site 78). Antiquaries Journal 50, 1-13.

Curwen, E.C. 1954. The Archaeology of Sussex. 2nd edition. London: Methuen.

Drewett, P. 1982. Later Bronze Age Downland Economy and Excavations at Black Patch, East Sussex. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 48: 321-400

Ellison, A. 1980. The Bronze Age of Sussex. In P.L. Drewett (ed.) Archaeology in Sussex: essays for Eric Holden

Eluère, C. 1982. Les Ors Prehistoriques. L'age du bronze en France 2. Picard.

Hawkes, C.F.C. 1942. The Deverel Urn and the Picardy pin.: a phase of Bronze age settlement in Kent. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 8, 26-47

Kubach, W. 1977. Die Nadeln in Hessen und Rheinhessen. Prähistorische Bronzefunde XIII, 3. Munich: C.H. Beck.

Laux, F. 1976. Die Nadeln in Niedersachen. Prähistorische Bronzefunde XIII, 4. Munich: C.H. Beck.

Needham, S. P. 1996. Chronology and periodisation in the British Bronze age. Acta Archaeologica 67, 121-140

Needham, S.P. unpublished. Copper alloy metalwork from the Summersdale area of Chichester, West Sussex. Bronze Age material from the assemblage is now known as the West Ashling Hoard


Needham, S.P., Bronk Ramsay, C., Coombs, D., Cartwright, C., & Petitt, P. 1997. An independent chronology for British Bronze Age metalwork: the results of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Programme. Archaeology Journal 154, 55-107

O'Connor, B. 1980. Cross-Channel relations in the later Bronze Age. BAR International Series 91.

Pendleton, C. in prep A possible small Middle Bronze Age hoard from Lakenheath, Suffolk and a re-examination of small quoit-headed pins

Rowlands, M. J 1976. The Production and Distribution of Metalwork in the Middle Bronze Age in Southern Britain. British Archaeological Reports 31 (ii)

Smith, M.A. 1959a. Some Somerset hoards and their place in the Bronze age of Southern Britain. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 25:144-87

Smith, M.A. (ed.) 1959b. Middle Bronze Age hoards from Southern England. Inventaria Archaeologica. 7, 42-47

Sprockhoff, E. 1956. Jungbronzezeitliche Hortfunde Der Südzone Des Nordischen Kreises (Periode V) Band I

Authors

Morn Capper (Future Curator)

Kasia McBride (Volunteer)

Ben Roberts (Bronze Age Curator)

Stephanie Smith (Sussex FLO)

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Submitted for consideration as Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2011T192

Chronology

Broad period: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod from: Middle
Period from: BRONZE AGE [scope notes | view all attributed records]
Date from: Circa 1500 BC
Date to: Circa 1100 BC

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 79

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Thursday 17th March 2011

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Miss Stephanie Smith - [ view all attributed records]
Identified by: Mr Ben Roberts - [view all attributed records]
Secondary identifier: Miss Stephanie Smith - [ view all attributed records]

Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2011T192

Materials and construction

Completeness: Incomplete [scope notes | view all attributed records]

A resized image of Bronze Age palstave

Image use policy

Our images can be used under a CC BY-SA licence (unless stated otherwise).

Spatial metadata

Region: South East
County: East Sussex
District: Lewes
To be known as: Near Lewes

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Created: Wednesday 6th April 2011
Updated: Thursday 16th May 2013

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