SUR-B41DB6: Bronze Age: Hoard. The scale is one foot long.

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HOARD

Unique ID: SUR-B41DB6

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A Middle Bronze Age hoard discovered on the 17th of May 2013 in the course of building work. The find consists of ten copper alloy objects, six palstave axes, two spiral finger rings and two 'Sussex Loop' armlets.

Descriptive catalogue

(N.B. On numbering of the palstaves: numbers in square brackets relate to numbering at time of initial recording. The sequence is largely retained for future reference except for where typological considerations take primacy.)

1. Copper alloy Sussex Loop bracelet or armlet. In one piece but broken in two places. Lozengical cross-section. The loop was made from a single, twisted bar with flattened terminals. The metal is heavily corroded on most surfaces and broken in two places. Where the edges of the bar are better preserved, it is possible to identify rows of decorative 'nicks' applied to the corners of the lozenge shaped metal rod.

Dimensions: Weight: 233g; Width: 85mm (approx.); Height: 85mm (approx.); Width of lozenge shaped rod: 9.6mm by 9.9mm; Width of terminals: 10mm

2. Copper alloy Sussex Loop bracelet or armlet. Fragmentary. Lozengical cross-section. The loop was made from a single, twisted bar with flattened terminals. The loop is broken into six fragments (No. i-vi, below), and, unlike loop No. 1, is no longer held together as one piece. The metal is heavily corroded across most surfaces but is better preserved along short lengths of the bar than loop No. 1. Where the original edges of the bar are preserved, it is possible to identify rows of decorative 'nicks' applied to the corners of the lozenge shaped metal rod (i.e. on two of four edges).

Fragment i.) Large fragment of bracelet

Dimensions: Weight: 143g; Width: 88mm (approx.); Height: 75mm (approx.); Width of lozenge shaped rod: 8.9mm by 9.3mm

Fragment ii.) Largest fragment of bracelet;

Dimensions: Weight: 259g; Length: 80mm

Fragment iii.) Section flattening towards terminal;

Dimensions: Weight: 23g; Length: 65mm

Fragment iv.) Lower arm and terminal of the loop from one of the two arms; Dimensions: Weight: 13g; Length: 55mm

Fragment v.) Terminal fragment;

Dimensions: Weight: 6g; Length: 35mm

Fragment vi.) Terminal fragment (appears to join with fragment v.);

Dimensions: Weight: 2g; Length: 15mm

3. Copper alloy coiled finger ring. Fragmentary sub-triangular or 'D'-shaped copper alloy bar coiled in on itself a maximum of three times, with two circuits achieved between the terminals. The ring has broken into three fragments and has heavy green/brown corrosion and flaking to surfaces. Notches or 'nicks' similar to the decoration of the Sussex Loops (Nos. 1-2), and the accompanying finger ring (No. 4), can be identified.

Dimensions: Weight: 20g; Diameter: 28.5mm; Rod width: 4-4.6mm

4. Copper alloy coiled finger ring. Complete, sub-triangular or 'D'-shaped, copper alloy bar coiled in on itself a maximum of three times, with two circuits achieved between the terminals. Although there is heavy green/brown corrosion to surfaces, patches of the ring surface are relatively well preserved. Notches of 'nicks' similar to the decoration of the Susex Loops (Nos. 1-2), and the accompanying finger ring (No. 3), can be identified.

Dimensions: Weight: 22.5g; Diameter: 29.5mm; Rod width: 4.3-4.6mm

5. Copper alloy palstave ['6'] (Rowlands's Class 2, Group 2, side flanged). Prominent medial rib running from the stop ridge to the centre of the blade edge, with a medial rib also present on the butt side of the stop ridge and runs for c.13mm. The palstave has a relatively rounded butt and is heavily corroded, with soil still adhering in places.

Dimensions: Weight: 295g (with soil still adhering); Length (max.): 131mm; Width of cutting edge of blade: 64mm; Length from stop to cutting edge: 78.2mm; (Max.) Thickness at stop ridges: 24.5mm

6. Copper alloy palstave ['1'] (Rowlands's Class 3). No trace of ribs to blade or butt end, blade edge missing its corner.

Dimensions: Weight: 333g; Length: 153mm; Blade width (surviving): 56mm

7. Copper alloy palstave ['3'] (Rowlands's Class 2, Group 2, side flanged). In two fragments. Prominent medial rib running from the stop ridge to the centre of the blade edge, it is not possible to detect whether a medial rib also occurred on the butt side of the blade due to the extent of corrosion. Heavy corroded.

Dimensions (combination of two fragments): Weight: 197g; Length (of two fragments): c.128mm; (Max.) Thickness at stop ridges: 26mm

8. Copper alloy palstave ['4'] (Rowlands's Class 2, Group 2, side flanged). Possible to detect evidence of a medial rib between both stop ridge and blade edge and stop ridge and butt (for c.12mm). Broken and heavily eroded to butt end of the blade.

Dimensions: Weight: 187g; Length: 118mm; Width of cutting blade: 43mm

9. Copper alloy palstave ['5'] (Rowlands's Class 2, Group 2, side flanged). Medial rib running from stop ridge to the centre of the blade but not possible to detect whether a rib also ran from stop ridge to butt end. Smooth cutting blade showing evidence of use-wear. Both sides of the blade show overlapping/miscast seams.

Dimensions: Weight: 219g; Length: 137mm; Width of cutting blade: 61mm; (Max.) Thickness (at stop ridge): 23mm

10. Copper alloy palstave ['2'] (Rowlands's Class 2, Group 2, side flanged). Medial rib from stop ridge to blade edge but not possible to detect a medial rib between stop ridge and butt, probably partly due to heavy erosion in this area of the blade. Cutting blade is distorted and this may be an original feature.

Dimensions: Weight: 269g; Length: 135mm; Width of cutting blade: 57mm; Thickness (at stop ridge): 25mm

11. Eight pieces of very friable and deteriorated ?prehistoric pottery, possibly from a single vessel and seemingly of the same fabric type. There is a substantial amount of soil adhering to each sherd, serving to hold the friable fabric together in some cases. It is not possible to be confident regarding the original character of the vessel but it has angular white grits.

i. Pottery sherd with solid soil block adhering; Weight: 135g; Dimensions: 60mm by 55mm by 40mm

ii. Pottery sherd, Weight: 21g; Dimensions: 43mm by 32mm by 15mm

iii. Pottery sherd, Weight: 9g; Dimensions: 35mm by 20mm by 10mm

iv. Pottery sherd, Weight: 4g; Dimensions: 20mm by 15mm by 15mm

v. Pottery sherd, Weight: 3g; Dimensions: 10mm by 10mm by 10mm

vi. Pottery sherd, Weight: 1g; Dimensions: 15mm by 10mm by 10mm

vii. Pottery sherd, Weight: >1g; Dimensions: 15mm by 15mm bv 15mm

viii. Pottery sherd, Weight: 1g; Dimensions: 10mm by 10mm by 8mm

Non-associated finds

One additional find was made alongside this hoard:

12. Modern rectangular section of, incomplete, copper alloy tubing with join/seam.

Dimensions: Weight 6g; Length (incomplete): 37mm; Width: 16mm; Thickness: 4.5mm

This item appears not to have been associated with the Middle Bronze Age finds and therefore does not qualify as potential treasure.

Notes:

Discussion

At the broadest level, the objects in the Ockham hoard can be dated typo-chronologically to the Middle Bronze Age (c.1500-1100 BC). More particularly, the early palstaves (Nos. 5-10), probably date to the Taunton metalwork phase (c.1400-1250 BC) (cf. Rowlands 1976, 31-2), and possibly to the Acton Park metalwork phase (c.1500-1400 BC) (cf. O'Connor 1980, 53). The two Sussex Loop bracelets (Nos. 1-2) and two spiral coiled finger rings (Nos. 3-4) belong to the Middle Bronze Age 'ornament horizon' of the Taunton and Penard phases (c.1400-1150 BC) (Smith 1959; Roberts 2007).

As their name suggests, Sussex Loop armlets (or bracelets) are found in the county of Sussex, generally within 16 miles of Brighton (White 1991). The Ockham find is notable for having been found in Surrey and is the first certain find from outwith Sussex, to the author's knowledge. Spiral coiled finger rings are known from Southern England: Roberts (2007, appendix) lists ten examples, with recent additions from the 'Near Lewes' (2011 T192) hoard and the 'Near Wylye' hoard (2012 T786). Palstaves of Class 2 Group 2 are found throughout Southern England, with a strong concentration in the upper Thames (Rowlands 1976, map 4; O'Connor 1980, 52-3; see Discussion in Capper et al. for 2011 T192). Palstaves of Class 3 are rarer than Class 2 examples but have also been found throughout most of southern England, with concentrations in Kent and Hampshire (Rowlands 1976, map 5).

A notable feature of these finds is that eight of the twelve hoards include objects also found with the Ockham hoard: either arm-rings (or bracelets), Sussex Loops or palstaves. The most notable of these overlapping composition hoards are the Hollingbury Hoard, Sussex, which included a palstave, two Sussex Loops and a spiral twisted torc (Roberts 2007, appendix, no. 85; Rowlands 1976, 267), and Stump Bottom, Cissbury, also in Sussex, which comprised two Sussex Loops, three spiral coiled finger rings and several additional ornaments (Roberts 2007, appendix, no. 95; Rowlands 1976, 269). The Ockham hoard therefore shares its composition, as well as a unique armlet/bracelet type, in common with ornament horizon hoards from Sussex.

Conclusion

This case comprises of a find of more than two objects of base metal of prehistoric date (Nos. 1-10, above) and therefore qualifies as Treasure under the Treasure Act (1996), Designation Order (2002). The associated ceramic finds probably from one vessel (No. 11, above) also qualify as Treasure by association with the metalwork as it was probably deposited at the same time as part of a 'hoard' deposit.

Bibliography

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

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

Roberts, B. 2007. 'Adorning the living but not the dead: a reassessment of Middle Bronze Age ornaments in Britain', Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 73, 135-167

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

White, S. 1991. 'A Sussex Loop from Patching, West Sussex', Sussex Archaeological Collections, 129 (1991), 239-40

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: Acquired by Guildford Museum
Subsequent action after recording: Acquired by museum after being declared Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2013T316

Chronology

Broad period: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod from: Middle
Period from: BRONZE AGE
Period to: BRONZE AGE
Date from: Circa 1400 BC
Date to: Circa 1150 BC

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 10

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr David W Williams
Identified by: Dr Neil Wilkin

Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2013T316

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Surrey (County)
District: Guildford (District)
Parish or ward: Ockham (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: TQ0756
Four figure Latitude: 51.293088
Four figure longitude: -0.466825
1:25K map: TQ0756
1:10K map: TQ05NE
Grid reference source: Generated from computer mapping software
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Building work
Current location: Acquired by Guildford Museum
General landuse: Other
Specific landuse: In use as a building

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: SUR
Created: 5 years ago
Updated: 3 years ago

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