WILT-A74356: Bronze Age hoard

Rights Holder: The British Museum
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Rights Holder: The British Museum
CC License:

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Unique ID: WILT-A74356

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

Ten individual copper alloy object fragments, one gold sheet fragment and several copper alloy fragments of casting waste dating to the Earliest Iron Age. The copper alloy objects consist of one sickle fragment, one socketed axe fragment, one triangular, blade fragment, one ingot fragment, five casting spues, and one small un-diagnostic metal object.


1. Gold sheet fragment. A thin five-sided sub-rectangular sheet fragment. Two sides form a right angled corner and appear to be the uncut deliberate edges of the sheet with feint flattening of the surface forming a border along these two sides, possibly decoration on the original complete object. The other three sides are more roughly finished and very slightly rolled in places giving the impression of once having been cut or clipped. The sheet curves upwards towards the damaged side. Weight: 2.1g, Max. Length 19.12mm, Max. Width: 16.08mm

2. Copper alloy sickle fragment. The broken rounded tip of a sickle. The tip is slightly corroded and the inner (concave) edge is slightly buckled at one point. The outer, (convex) edge is uneven. A shallow groove runs along one side of the blade from the wide broken end petering out before it reaches the narrow tip. The sickle has a brown green and slightly porous patina.. Weight: 17.4g, Max. Length: 66.45mm, Max. Width: 21.47mm

3. Copper alloy socketed axe fragment, Type Sompting. Small shallow curved triangular fragment of the socket end of a socketed axe. The remains of a rounded single collared moulding can be seen on one side of the fragment. The surface is smooth and brown green in colour. Weight: 16.5g, Max. Length: 31.73mm, Max. Width: 25.60 mm

4. Copper alloy blade tip. A slightly wedge-shaped triangular object, possibly the tip of a blade. The object is wider at the point of the triangle and narrows to a short blunted edge at the opposite end, the probable cutting edge. The patina is brown green and slightly shiny. Weight: 6.1g, Max. Length: 44.74mm, Max. Width: 13.86mm

5. Copper alloy ingot fragment. Light brown patina. Weight: 60g, Max. Length: 33.04mm, Max. Width: 29.28mm

6. Casting spues:

a) Copper alloy casting spue. The object has a long pyramid shaped funnel, rectangular in cross-section, narrowing to a single edge at one end and flaring out at the opposite end to form the uneven oval cone of the spue. The cone has a rough, very slightly concave surface with a slightly rolled edge at one end. The object is a brown grey colour and edges of the spue are slightly uneven and corroded. Weight: 42.5g, Max. Length: 35.20mm, Max. Width: 34.35mm

b) Copper alloy casting spue. The object is a small sub-rounded cone with a rough flat upper surface, uneven sides and a short rod projecting from the tip of the cone. The rod is oval in cross-section and forms the funnel spike of the spue. The object is green brown in colour. Weight: 26.7g, Max. Length: 20.28mm, Max. Width: 23.31mm

c) Copper alloy casting spue. The object is made up of a rounded triangular shaped funnel attached at an acute angle to a flattened oval platform. The object's patina is brown with small sections of green. Weight: 25.6g, Max. Length: 31.79mm, Max. Width: 17.36mm

d) Copper alloy casting spue. This wedge shaped object has a bevelled edge round three sides and undulating surfaces. The rough textured wide end marks where this funnel must have broken from the cone end of the spue. The patina is brown/green, smooth and shiny. Weight: 6.4 g, Max. Length: 23.98mm, Max. Width: 12.39mm

e) Copper alloy casting spue. This wedge-shaped object is formed from the funnel of the spue, sub-rectangular in cross-section, where it meets the sub-rectangular rough outer end of the spue at an acute angle The patina is a brown/green, and one surface is smooth and slightly shiny. Weight: 14.8g Max. Length: 26.75mm, Max. Width: 14.47mm

7. Undiagnostic copper alloy object. The object consists of two small metal spheres (Max. Diameters: 9.14mm and 8.87mm) joined together by a narrow sub-rectangular rod (9.44mm long) with a slightly concave upper surface rising up to meet each sphere at either end. The rod then extends down below either sphere perpendicular to the joining rod. The entire object has squared U-shaped profile with the spheres at the two corners. The object appears to be broken in antiquity on both sides of the open end of the U so its original complete form is unknown. The bulbous sphere shapes are found on Iron Age items of personal ornament and dress such a pins and brooches but in such instances they tend to be found in a group of four spheres arranged in a cruciform shape such as the plate brooch from the Batheaston hoard BM.1989,0601.200. This U-shaped form of this object does not correspond with any known brooch or pin. It could have functioned as some form of toggle with the thread wrapped around the two spheres but this is only conjecture.
Weight: 7.2g, Max. Length: 16.08, Max. Width: 26.33g


a) Casting waste fragments. Several small irregular fragments of brown green metal casting waste. Overall weight of fragments: 132.1g

b) Casting waste fragments. Several small irregular fragments of brown grey metal casting waste. Overall weight of fragments: 161.7g


a) Casting waste piece. The object is large, brown in colour, and has an overall porous appearance. Weight: 74.8g, Max. Length: 66.80mm, Max. Width: 30.05mm

b) Casting waste piece. The object is medium sized, brown grey in colour, and has quite a flat and slightly smooth appearance. Weight: 34.3g, Max. Length: 43.30mm, Max. Width: 33.13mm

c) Casting waste. The object is brown green in colour, and has an uneven porous appearance. Weight: 28.1g, Max. Length: 32.24mm, Max. Width: 23.44

Discussion The Sompting type socketed axe fragment dates the hoard to the Llyn Fawr metal working phase of the Earliest Iron Age (800-600 BC). Comparable axes and sickle blades were recovered in the Earliest Iron Age hoard from Wardour, Wiltshire (2011 T684) which was found nearby. It is of interest that the latter hoard contained items of personal dress including toggles. Although none are comparable in form to the undiagnostic object recovered here, the combination of object types represented at Hindon and Wardour may be indicative of the possibility that this was a dress related item. In contrast to the Wardour hoard is the number of casting waste fragments including spues and the copper alloy ingot found in this hoard. However in southern England hoards containing socketed axes and ingot fragments are common from the Late Bronze Age Ewart Park phase (1000-800BC). The gold sheet fragment is an unusual find for the Earliest Iron Age (O'Connor 2007) but gold is frequently recovered from the preceding two centuries (see past Treasure Annual Reports). It is proposed that the combination of fragmentary objects, casting waste and incomplete gold sheet are a collection of material pertaining to Earliest Iron Age metalsmithing. This may, therefore, be a metalworker's hoard rather than the more elaborate ritually deposited large collections of complete artefacts such as the Wardour hoard or Netherhampton.


O'Connor, B. 2007.

Llyn Fawr metalwork in Britain: a review. In C. Haselgrove and R. Pope (eds.)

The Earlier Iron Age in Britain and near continental Europe, 64-79. Oxford: Oxbow.

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum
Subsequent action after recording: Donated to museum after being declared Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2011T793


Broad period: BRONZE AGE
Period from: BRONZE AGE

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 54

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Tuesday 4th October 2011 - Wednesday 12th October 2011

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Ms Katie Hinds
Identified by: Mr Ben Roberts

Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2011T793

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Secondary material: Gold
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: South West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
To be known as: Hindon

Spatial coordinates

Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
Current location: Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Audit data

Recording Institution: WILT
Created: 7 years ago
Updated: 4 years ago

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