HAMP-6F4C45: Bronze Age/ Iron Age unidentified 'moustache-like' object

Rights Holder: Hampshire Cultural Trust
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Unique ID: HAMP-6F4C45

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

A Middle Bronze Age to Early Iron Age (1500-100 BC) bronze moustache-like object, incomplete in so far as one of two projections is missing its tip.
The object consists of two pointed drop-shaped elements, D-shaped in cross-section and joined at their wider, rounded ends by a short, rectangular central element 5.5mm in length and 8.9mm tall. This section is hollow (as are the very ends of the drop-shaped elements) and has an oval piercing to the underside (10.5xmax.5.2mm), extending into both drop-shaped elements. There are wear marks to either end of this piercing.
The underside of the object is relatively flat while the edges curve up and around to create the D-shaped cross-section. These curved edges are decorated with deep grooves and corresponding ridges for c.16mm, where the drop-shaped elements are widest (from c.11.4x11.4mm at the centre to c.9.5x10mm). From this point, they quickly narrow into long projections circular in cross-section, the top edge dropping in height to the bottom edge. The complete projection extends c.30mm, narrowing to 1.7mm just before sharply expanding into a trumpet-like terminal 2.8mm in diameter. The incomplete projection terminates in a worn, old break 1.8mm in diameter after c. 22mm.
On the un-grooved areas, the object has a smooth and shiny patina. The metal is a browny-orange in colour. The object measures 72.5mm incomplete length, 11.4mm in max.width and thickness, 30.5mm in max.height and weighs 25.84g.


These moustache-like objects are thought to date from the Middle Bronze Age to the Late Iron Age, after the discovery of one in the Salisbury Hoard (Stead, 1998, no.117). Some are 'single' examples while others are 'double' like this example, the drop-shaped elements often extending downwards rather more than outwards, as HAMP-E8A481. 'Double' examples with outward-projections like this one on the PAS database are SF-722CF5, BERK-719DA8, PUBLIC-E9E1C5, NARC-925E14, DENO-0E9FA1 and probably DENO-688BF1.
The open area at the centre of the object suggests it was meant to top something that fitted into this gap. Descriptions of other moustache-like objects with similar perforations describe iron corrosion or wood mineralisation around the perforation. Although very similar to wing-shaped chapes, it seems unlikely they had a similar function, as the perforation (and size of the object) is comparably small. Dr JD Hill at the British Museum suggests that they are Iron Age rather than Bronze Age, but this is yet to be confirmed by excavation of a stratified example.

Find of note status

This has been noted as an interesting find by the recorder.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod from: Middle
Period from: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod to: Early
Period to: IRON AGE
Date from: Circa 1500 BC
Date to: Circa 100 BC

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 72.5 mm
Width: 11.4 mm
Thickness: 11.4 mm
Weight: 25.84 g

Personal details

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Other reference numbers

Other reference: Hampshire Cultural Trust Entry Form ANDAM 2118

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Oxfordshire (County)
District: West Oxfordshire (District)
To be known as: Clanfield

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: Generated from computer mapping software
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: HAMP
Created: 6 years ago
Updated: 6 years ago

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