Huge hoard of Bronze Age finds from Boughton Malherbe area discovered

Published: Thursday 8th December 2011 Author:

More than 350 late Bronze Age objects found in a field in the Boughton Malherbe area, near Maidstone have been officially declared as Treasure.The collection of tools, weapons, ornaments and ingots, found by two metal detector enthusiasts are thought to be from 875-800 BC. The hoard is particularly unusual because they are thought to have originated in north west and northern France but then been brought to England and later buried in Kent.

The finds were reported to KCC's Heritage Conservation Team and taken to the British Museum in London, where they were studied by a team of researchers who prepared a report for the coroner who conducted an inquest today (Thursday 8 December). It is a lesser-known part of their job, but coroners also conduct inquests to investigate finds in their areas and to establish who the finder is, as part of the Treasure Act 1996. The Act means that it is a criminal offence not to report potential Treasure to a coroner for investigation.

Maidstone Museum is intending to acquire the hoard once the market value has been determined by the independent Treasure Valuation Committee. The museum will then have four months to raise this sum to acquire the hoard, and the money will serve as the reward for the finders and landowner.

Local Finds Liaison Officer, Jennifer Jackson said:

This is very exciting for Kent. The fact that Maidstone Museum would like to display them means they will hopefully stay in the area for everyone to see and enjoy. I am very pleased that those who found the items and the landowner reported it so quickly.

Collections Manager from Maidstone Museum Giles Guthrie said:

There are a number of hoards of this period known about from south east England and north western France but this discovery helps highlight the massive resources that were at the disposal of these people 3,000 years ago. It would represent a significant addition to our collection and make an excellent tool to illustrate the activities of Kentish folk in the Bronze Age.

Dr. Ben Roberts, Curator of European Bronze Age, British Museum said:

This is a spectacular find of a vast Bronze Age hoard. 3000 years ago, people on either side of the channel were placing large quantities of bronze into pits, bogs and rivers as votive offerings. We can see an echo of this today when we throw coins into wishing wells. The contents of the hoard are fascinating as they span the tools, weapons, ornaments and ingots of the ancient cross-channel world. What is perhaps most interesting, is that these objects are far more common in northern France rather than southeast England. Several have never even been found in England before. I am extremely grateful to the team who worked on this hoard.

The coroner also confirmed today that a smaller hoard of seven Early Iron Age items found in Stockbury, Kent, have been named Treasure.

Key facts

  • The hoard was found in August 2011.
  • The hoard is comparable in size and content to those found in northwest and northern France rather than in Britain where it is unique.
  • It contains bronze fragments of weapons such as swords and spears, tools such as axes, hammers and knives, bronze casting waste and ingots as well as several fragments from buckets, chariots/harnesses and plaques. A detailed record of the hoard can be seen here: http://finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/457499

Contact: Jen Jackson

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