Treasure 20 Harborough Museum – ‘Basket’ ornaments

   ‘Beaker Basket’ ornaments  LEIC-448088

These delicate, rare and enigmatic objects are among the earliest metal objects from Britain. Made around the start of the Bronze Age 2500-2300BC, their function is still uncertain and as the name suggests they were originally thought to be basket ornaments. The ‘Amesbury Archer’  and his companion, found in 2002, were buried with similar artefacts that have been dubbed hair tresses or earrings as two pairs  were found rolled up by the head of the Archer and his companion.

Ours have been compared to examples from Spain and Ireland, and are slightly different to the insular types, such as those found with the archer. Whatever their origin, it seems probable that high status personal adornment was their function.  Investigations at the find spot, revealed evidence for a ploughed out round barrow and field walkers recovered an extremely rare Bronze Age  ‘cannel coal’ conical button, so we are probably dealing with a high status burial in or near a round barrow that has been destroyed by constant ploughing.

They remain the oldest metalwork on the PAS database and the oldest example of metalwork from Leicestershire.

Found in Gilmorton in 2006, the ornaments and button can be seen at  Harborough Museum