YORYM-D028FE: Bronze Age copper-alloy axes

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HOARD

Unique ID: YORYM-D028FE

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

TREASURE CASE : 2016 T239.

Driffield Area Hoard I = 14 socketed axes, 13 bronze ingots.

Report for HM Coroner on potential Treasure

Case 2016 T239 ('Driffield Hoard I') from Yorkshire

Finder:

Object type and material: Late Bronze Age hoard

Date of discovery: 23rd March

Circumstance of discovery:

This is the first of two hoards of Late Bronze Age date discovered by the finder whilst searching an arable field with a metal detector. This hoard ('Driffield Hoard I') consists of 14 bronze socketed axes and 13 ingot fragments. The finder reported the discovery to the Portable Antiquities Scheme and the Hoard was recorded and lifted by PAS staff (Dr Leahy, a National Advisor for PAS). A few days later, on Monday the 28th of March a much larger hoard ('Driffield Hoard II' (2016 T240)) was found about 3.5 m away from the first.

The hoard consists of 12 complete socketed axes of the Yorkshire Type, one complete socketed axe of the Everthorpe type, one complete socketed axe of the Meldreth Type (Variant Westow), and 13 ingot fragments, most of which belonged to bun-shaped or plano-convex ingots. A small piece of flint from the topsoil near the hoard was also included. Such ingots and the types of axes present in this hoard generally fall within the Ewart Park phase of the Late Bronze Age and can be dated to around 800 BC (Needham et al. 1997).

Descriptive catalogue

Although some axe sockets in this hoard did not contain soil (Dr Leahy pers. corr.), most of the axes and ingot were still covered with soil when inspected. This obscured some of their features. For a more full and detailed description and comparison of different types further conservation work is required.

Axes

Three different axe types were identified in the hoard and the individual axes will be described under each type. For the purposes of this Treasure report the axes of Yorkshire Type have been sub-divided by the author into four of five sub-categories (A-E) as identified in 'Driffield Hoard I'I and a group of 'other' Yorkshire axes that did not fit into any of these five groups. Please note that for the purposes of this Treasure report, the objects within the hoard were renumbered. The first number in the descriptive catalogue is the new number assigned for this report. The numbers in square brackets are the original find numbers given to the objects in this hoard.

Yorkshire Type (Schmidt and Burgess 1981, 223)

Please see the report for 'Driffield Hoard II' for a detailed description of the various sub-types (A-E) created by F. Huisman within the Yorkshire Type.

Type A

Only one axe in 'Driffield Hoard I' could be classified as a Type A Yorkshire axe (no. 1). It is remarkably similar to a Type A axe in 'Driffield Hoard II' (no. 23) and may come from the same workshop (see discussion below).

1 [24] Copper alloy socketed axe. This is a complete socketed axe of the Yorkshire type. The axe has a relatively long body with an expanded blade. The body without the blade is rectangular in shape with diverging sides towards the blade and the socket is square in plan, with rounded corners. The axe has three widely spaced parallel and straight ribs descending about halfway down the face from a horizontal clear narrow moulding below a prominent and slightly everted collar. The wide loop is set below the collar and its upper end runs into the moulding. Inside the socket one barely perceptible haft rib can just be felt, running from about 15 mm below the collar. It is not clear how far down it reaches due to soil in the socket. Strangely, there does not seem to be an opposing haft rib on the other side. The remains of trimmed down casting seams can be seen on top and bottom of the axe and near the blade these have almost been trimmed away. Unlike most axes in Hoard I, the axe is in a good condition, even displaying some of its original shiny surface. It is more like the axes in Hoard II in this respect. However, most of the surface is covered in a (dark) green patina.

Length: 93.5 mm. Blade width: 49 mm. Socket mouth: 27 by 27 mm. Loop length: 21 mm. Loop height: 9 mm. Loop width: 9 mm. Weight: 263.1 g.

Type C

Seven wedge-shaped axes in this hoard match sub-type C (as defined in the 'Driffield Hoard II' report), making this the largest sub-group in Hoard I.

2 [1] Copper alloy socketed axe. This is a complete socketed axe of the Yorkshire type. The axe is relatively short and wedge shaped with a very slightly expanded blade. The body without the blade is rectangular in shape with slightly diverging sides towards the blade and the socket is rectangular in plan. The axe has three widely spaced parallel and straight ribs descending almost to about halfway down the face from a faint horizontal moulding below a prominent, heavy and slightly everted collar. The loop is set below the collar and its upper end runs into the moulding. Inside the socket the remains of one haft rib, which start about 5 mm below the collar can be seen running down to about a third of the inside of the socket. There does not seem to be an opposing haft rib on the other side. The remains of a trimmed down casting seam can be seen on bottom and the top of the axe. Towards the blade these have almost been trimmed away. The blade is worn and particularly blunt towards the corners (top and bottom), with several chips and chunks missing. The axe is covered in in a (dark) green (almost black) patina and large patches of grit-like corrosion adhere to the surface.

Length: 83 mm. Blade width: 45 mm. Socket mouth: 27 by 28 mm. Loop length: 20 mm. Loop height: 9.5 mm. Loop width: 9 mm. Weight: 221.1 g.

3 [3] Copper alloy socketed axe. This is a complete socketed axe of the Yorkshire type. The axe is relatively short and wedge shaped with a very slightly expanded blade. The body without the blade is rectangular in shape with slightly diverging sides towards the blade and the socket is rectangular in plan. The axe has three widely spaced parallel and straight ribs descending to about halfway down the face from a horizontal moulding below a prominent, and slightly everted collar. The loop is set below the collar and its upper end runs into the moulding. Inside the socket two prominent and opposed haft ribs, which start about 15 mm below the collar can be seen running down to about a third of the inside of the socket. The remains of a trimmed down casting seam can be seen on bottom and the top of the axe. Towards the blade these have almost been trimmed away. The blade is worn, with several chips and chunks missing. The axe is covered in in a (dark) green (almost black) patina.

Length: 87 mm. Blade width: 46 mm. Socket mouth: 28 by 29 mm. Loop length: 20 mm. Loop height: 10 mm. Loop width: 9 mm. Weight: 242.4 g.

4 [4] Copper alloy socketed axe. This is a complete socketed axe of the Yorkshire type. The axe is relatively short and wedge shaped with a very slightly expanded blade. The body without the blade is rectangular in shape with slightly diverging sides towards the blade and the socket is square in plan. The axe has three distinct, widely spaced, parallel and straight ribs descending to about halfway down the face from a horizontal moulding below a prominent, and slightly everted collar. The loop is set below the collar and its upper end runs into the moulding. Inside the socket two opposed haft ribs, which start about 15 mm below the collar can be seen running down to about a third of the inside of the socket. The remains of a trimmed down casting seam can be seen on bottom and the top of the axe. Towards the blade these have almost been trimmed away. The blade seems worn, with a slightly ragged look as the result of a few small chips that are missing. The axe is covered in in a (dark) green (almost black) patina. Some grit-like corrosion patches and patches of white chalk also adhere to the surface.

Length: 78.5 mm. Blade width: 42 mm. Socket mouth: 27 by 27 mm. Loop length: 19 mm. Loop height: 10 mm. Loop width: 8.5 mm. Weight: 213.2 g.

5 [6] Copper alloy socketed axe. This is a complete socketed axe of the Yorkshire type. The axe is relatively short and wedge shaped with a very slightly expanded blade. The body without the blade is rectangular in shape with slightly diverging sides towards the blade and the socket is square in plan. The axe has three distinct, narrowly spaced, parallel and straight ribs descending to about a third down the face from a faint horizontal moulding below a prominent and everted collar. The loop is set below the collar and its upper end runs into the moulding, which almost touches the collar mouth in this axe. Inside the socket the upper end of two distinct and opposed haft ribs, which start at the collar mouth and run down the inside of the socket. Die to soil in the socket it is hard to say how far they run down. The remains of a trimmed down casting seam can be seen on bottom and the top of the axe. Towards the blade these have almost been trimmed away. The blade seems worn, with a slightly ragged look as the result of a few small chips that are missing. The axe is covered in in a (dark) green (almost black) patina and patches of white chalk also adhere to the surface.

Length: 79 mm. Blade width: 49 mm. Socket mouth: 26 by 27 mm. Loop length: 18 mm. Loop height: 19.5 mm. Loop width: 10 mm. Weight: 220.5 g.

6 [7] Copper alloy socketed axe. This is a complete socketed axe of the Yorkshire type. The axe is relatively short and wedge shaped with a slightly expanded blade. The body without the blade is rectangular in shape with slightly diverging sides towards the blade and the socket is rectangular in plan. The axe has three widely spaced parallel, straight and seemingly rather short ribs descending to just beyond the loop on the face from a horizontal moulding below a prominent, heavy and slightly everted collar. The loop is set below the collar and its upper end runs into the moulding. Inside the socket one haft rib, which start about 15 mm below the collar can be seen running down to about halfway down the inside of the socket. The remains of a trimmed down casting seam can be seen on bottom and the top of the axe. The blade is worn, with several chips missing, giving it a ragged look. There is a small hole between the horizontal moulding and the collar on one face, presumably the result of a casting fault. There is a small scratch in the surface near the blade on one side. The axe is covered in in a green patina.

Length: 84 mm. Blade width: 43.5 mm. Socket mouth: 29 by 27 mm. Loop length: 17.5 mm. Loop height: 8.5 mm. Loop width: 8.5 mm. Weight: 212.6 g.

7 [16] Copper alloy socketed axe. This is a complete socketed axe of the Yorkshire type. The axe is relatively short and wedge shaped with a slightly expanded blade. The body without the blade is rectangular in shape with slightly diverging sides towards the blade and the socket is rectangular in plan. The axe has three widely spaced parallel, straight ribs descending to about halfway down the face from a horizontal moulding below a prominent, heavy and slightly everted collar. The loop is set below the collar and its upper end runs into the moulding. Inside the socket two faint opposing haft rib can just be felt, which start about 15 mm below the collar can be seen running down to about halfway down the inside of the socket. The remains of a trimmed down casting seam can be seen on bottom and the top of the axe. Near the blade these have almost been trimmed away. The blade is worn, with a ragged appearance. The axe is covered in in a (dark) green patina and has patches of corrosion and chalk attached to its surface as well.

Length: 83 mm. Blade width: 47 mm. Socket mouth: 28 by 28.5 mm. Loop length: 17 mm. Loop height: 9 mm. Loop width: 9 mm. Weight: 245.2 g.

8 [19] Copper alloy socketed axe. This is a complete socketed axe of the Yorkshire type. The axe is relatively short and wedge shaped with an expanded blade. The body without the blade is rectangular in shape with slightly diverging sides towards the blade and the socket is rectangular in plan. The axe has three narrow and distinct, widely spaced parallel, straight ribs descending to just beyond the loop down the face from a distinct narrow horizontal moulding below a slightly everted collar. The loop is set below the collar and its upper end runs into the moulding. Inside the socket the end of two opposing haft rib can just be felt. They start about 5 mm below the collar and can be seen running down the inside of the socket. How far is impossible to say due to soil in the socket. The casting seam on the top of the axe has almost been trimmed away. On the bottom the trace of the casting seam can be seen still, but here too it has almost been trimmed away. The blade is worn, with a slightly ragged appearance. The axe is covered in in a (dark) green patina although patches of the original surface can also be seen through the soil adhering to the faces. The upper half of the axe has large patches and lumps of corrosion attached to its surface.

Length: 87 mm. Blade width: 50 mm. Socket mouth: 30 by 25 mm. Loop length: 18 mm. Loop height: 10 mm. Loop width: 8.5 mm. Weight: 232.1 g.

Type D?

Only one axe could tentatively be identified as a Type D axe (no. 9). It is most similar to this sub-type (cf. description in 'Driffield Hoard II' report), but its blade is expanded rather than splayed and this axe also is bigger than the two Type D axes in Hoard II. Otherwise it is similar in shape. Axe 2 does not fit comfortably in any of the other sub-types, which is why it has been tentatively classified as a type D.

9 [2] Copper alloy socketed axe. This is a complete socketed axe of the Yorkshire type. The axe has a relatively short body with a slightly expanded blade. The body without the blade is rectangular in shape with diverging sides towards the blade and the socket is square in plan. The axe has three clear, narrow and widely spaced parallel ribs descending to about halfway down the face from a thin, faint horizontal narrow moulding below a prominent, heavy and slightly everted collar. The loop is set below the collar and its upper end runs into the moulding. Inside the socket the remains of two opposed haft ribs can just be seen, running from about 15 mm below the collar down into the cavity. How far is impossible to say given the soil in the socket. The remains of a slightly off-centre trimmed down casting seam can be seen on the top of the axe. On the bottom the casting seam is more central. Both have been trimmed away towards the blade. There is a small pit in one of the faces and the blade seems quite blunt, perhaps due to wear. The upper corner in particular feels very blunt. Most of the surface is covered in a (dark) green patina and some grit-like corrosion and patches of white chalk also adhere to the surface.

Length: 82 mm. Blade width: 50 mm. Socket mouth: 28 by 28 mm. Loop length: 20 mm. Loop height: 7.7 mm. Loop width: 8.5 mm. Weight: 226.9 g.

Type E

Two axes from 'Driffield Hoard I' (nos. 10 and 11) were very similar to no. 33 from 'Driffield Hoard II', which was unclassified. However, together with the axes from Hoard I, the three axes seem to form a distinct sub-type of the Yorkshire Type axes: E.

10 [21] Copper alloy socketed axe. This is a complete socketed axe of the Yorkshire type. The axe is relatively short and wedge shaped with an expanded blade. The body without the blade is rectangular in shape with sides that are straight for the most part, but suddenly expand towards the blade. The socket is rectangular in plan. The axe has three narrowly spaced parallel and straight ribs descending about halfway down the face from a faint horizontal moulding below a prominent, heavy, everted collar. The wide loop is set below the collar and its upper end runs into the moulding, which almost touches the mouth of the collar in this axe. Inside the socket there are two prominent opposed haft ribs, which run from just below the collar mouth on the inside of the cavity. How far they go down cannot be made out due to soil in the socket. On the top of the axe the remains of a trimmed down casting seam can be seen which has almost been trimmed away near the blade. On the bottom the faint traces of a casting seam can be seen as well, though this has almost been trimmed away. The corners of the blade are rather blunt, but this may be due to corrosion rather than wear. The axe is covered in a (dark) green patina (almost black in places) patina and large corrosive lumps adhere to the surface of one face and around the loop.

Length: 75 mm. Blade width: 47 mm. Socket mouth: 25 by 27 mm. Loop length: 17 mm. Loop height: 9 mm. Loop width: 9 mm. Weight: 232.1 g.

11 [22] Copper alloy socketed axe. This is a complete socketed axe of the Yorkshire type. The axe is relatively short and wedge shaped with an expanded blade. The body without the blade is rectangular in shape with sides that are slowly diverging before suddenly expanding towards the blade. The socket is square in plan. The axe has three widely spaced parallel and straight ribs descending to just beyond the loop on the face from a clear horizontal moulding below a prominent, heavy, everted collar. The wide loop is set below the collar and its upper end runs into the moulding, which almost touches the mouth of the collar in this axe. Inside the socket there are two prominent opposed haft ribs, which run from about 15 mm below the collar down the inside of the cavity. How far they go down cannot be made out due to soil in the socket. On the top and bottom of the axe the remains of trimmed down casting seams can be seen which have almost been trimmed away near the blade. The blade seems worn, particularly near the corners where the blade is rather blunt, and a few small chips are missing from the blade, giving it a slightly ragged appearance. The axe is in a relatively good condition, with a large patch of the original surface visible on one side. The rest of the surface is covered in a (dark) green patina, much of which contains grit like corrosion and larger corrosive lumps, particularly on the opposite face from the one which has the shiny surface.

Length: 79 mm. Blade width: 50 mm. Socket mouth: 28 by 26 mm. Loop length: 20 mm. Loop height: 10 mm. Loop width: 8.5 mm. Weight: 229.1 g.

Other Yorkshire Type

One rather corroded axe did not fit comfortably in any of the defined sub-types (no. 12). It has characteristics of Types C, D and E, but does not truly belong to any of these. For this reason it will remain unclassified.

12 [8] Copper alloy socketed axe. This is a complete socketed axe of the Yorkshire type. The axe has a relatively short body with an expanded blade. The body without the blade is rectangular in shape with diverging sides towards the blade and the socket is square in plan. The axe has three clear, narrowly spaced parallel ribs descending to about halfway down the face from a thin horizontal narrow moulding below a prominent, heavy and slightly everted collar. The loop is set below the collar and its upper end runs into the moulding. Inside the socket the remains of two opposed haft ribs can just be seen, running from about 5 mm below the collar down into the cavity. How far is impossible to say given the soil in the socket. The remains of a trimmed down casting seam can be seen on the bottom of the axe. On the top corrosion obscures most of the casting seam, but it cn still be seen around the loop. The blade is quite heavily damaged with large chunks missing. Most of the surface is covered in a green patina and large lumps of grit-like corrosion adhere to the surface.

Length: 91 mm. Blade width: 50 mm. Socket mouth: 25 by 27 mm. Loop length: 21 mm. Loop height: 8 mm. Loop width: 10 mm. Weight: 270.5 g.

Everthorpe Type (Schmidt and Burgess 1981, 218)

13 [5] Copper alloy socketed axe. This is a complete socketed axe of the Everthorpe Type. It has a wedge-shaped form with slightly diverging sides, and a slightly expanded blade, with a distinct, slightly flaring collar and a horizontal moulding below, which runs into the top of the loop. corners and there are two parallel and clearly defined haft ribs on either side of the inside of the socket, running from about 5 mm. below the collar to about halfway down on the inside of the cavity. The remains of trimmed down casting seams can be seen on the top and bottom of the axe, though they have been trimmed away towards the blade. The axe is covered in a (dark) green (almost black in places) patina and rough lumps of corrosion adhere to the surface in several places.

Length: 85 mm. Blade width: 45 mm. Socket mouth: 27 by 27 mm. Loop length: 17.5 mm. Loop height: 9 mm. Loop width: 9 mm. Weight: 247.6 g. (with soil).

Meldreth Type (Variant Westow) (Schmidt and Burgess 1981, 204-205, 208)

14 [25] Copper alloy socketed axe. This is a socketed axe of the Meldreth Type, with a slender faceted body (this axe has 6 facets) and concave sides which run into a trumpet-shaped collar at the mouth and a splayed, almost crescentic blade at the opposite end. The collar is round in plan and the loop is on a level with the lower edge of the collar. There are two mouldings below the collar which suggest this axe is of the Westow Variant, which is characterised by mouths with multiple mouldings (Schmidt and Burgess 1981, 208). The remains of trimmed down casting seems can just be made out on the top and bottom of the axe. The blade has clearly sustained damage, with chips and chunks missing all along its edge. The axe is in a relatively good condition, although its surface is covered in a dark green (almost black in places) patina.

Length: 97 mm. Blade width: 56.5 mm. Socket mouth: 25 by 24.5 mm. Loop length: 19 mm. Loop height: 8 mm. Loop width: 7 mm. Weight: 207.5 g.

Ingots

Most ingot fragments are of the plano-convex type typical of the Late Bronze Age (Type 1). Some were of large or thick ingots (Type 1), whereas a second group seemed to belong to smaller plano-convex ingots (Type 2). Two other fragments could not confidently be assigned to this category and they have been listed separately (Type 3).

Type 1: Fragments of large plano-convex ingots

15 [14] Edge fragment of copper alloy plano-convex ingot. A fragment of the edge of a medium to large plano-convex ingot. It has very rough, uneven and pitted surfaces. There is a large cavity in one of the break surfaces. The surface is covered in a (dark) green patina. Small patches of chalk also adhere to the surface.

Length: 80 mm. Width: 60 mm. Height: 31 mm. Weight: 489.4 g

16 [17] Central fragment of copper alloy plano-convex ingot. A fragment of the centre of what looks to have been a large (relatively high) plano-convex ingot. The fragment has very rough, uneven and pitted surfaces . It is covered in a green patina and a few small patches of chalk also adhere to its surface.

Length: 55 mm. Width: 40 mm. Height: 31 mm. Weight: 258.9 g

17 [18] Central fragment of copper alloy plano-convex ingot. A fragment of the centre of what looks to have been a large (relatively high) plano-convex ingot. The lower surface of this fragment is relatively smooth and flat and this surface seems to have an edge along the break, almost as if it was a sheet of metal placed on top of the ingot as it was made, though this is speculative. The upper surface is rougher and so are the break surfaces. The fragment is covered in a (dark) green patina.

Length: 62 mm. Width: 60 mm. Height: 32 mm. Weight: 361.9 g

18 [26] Edge fragment of copper alloy plano-convex ingot. A large fragment of the edge of a medium plano-convex ingot. The fragment is about a quarter of the ingot and is semi-triangular in plan. It has very rough, uneven and pitted surfaces, with large cavities and holes, particularly in the lower surface in the break surfaces. The surface is covered in a (dark) green patina and some chalk adheres to the surface as well.

Length: 92 mm. Width: 82 mm. Height: 28.5 mm. Weight: 740.2 g

19 [27] Central fragment of copper alloy plano-convex ingot. A fragment of the centre of what looks to have been a large (relatively high) plano-convex ingot. The upper and lower surface of this fragment is relatively smooth, though they do display a few cracks. The break surfaces are rougher and one seems to have a large cavity in it (the lower and upper surface extend beyond the centre of the fragment here). The fragment is covered in a green patina and some patches of chalk also adhere to the surface.

Length: 53 mm. Width: 50 mm. Height: 30 mm. Weight: 360.8 g

20 [28] Edge fragment of copper alloy plano-convex ingot. A fragment of the edge of what seems to have been a large plano-convex ingot. It has very rough, uneven and pitted surfaces, displaying large pits and cavities on it upper and lower surfaces. The surface is covered in a (dark) green patina and small patches of chalk also adhere to the surface.

Length: 78 mm. Width: 70 mm. Height: 31 mm. Weight: 485.8 g

21 [29] Edge fragment of copper alloy plano-convex ingot. A large fragment of the edge of a small to medium and relatively high plano-convex ingot. The fragment is about a quarter of the ingot and is semi-triangular in plan. It has very rough, uneven and pitted surfaces, with large cavities and holes, particularly in the lower surface. The surface is covered in a green patina and some small patches of chalk adhere to the surface as well.

Length: 76 mm. Width: 60 mm. Height: 32 mm. Weight: 453.0 g

Type 2: Fragments of smaller plano-convex ingots

22 [9] Edge fragment of copper alloy plano-convex ingot. A fragment of the edge of a medium plano-convex ingot. It has very rough, uneven and pitted surfaces. There is a large cavity in one of the break surfaces. The surface is covered in a (dark) green patina.

Length: 100 mm. Width: 73 mm. Height: 27 mm. Weight: 610.69 g

23 [10] Central fragment of copper alloy plano-convex ingot. A fragment of the centre (near the edge) of a plano-convex ingot. The fragment has rough and uneven surfaces with a few pits and is covered in a dark green patina.

Length: 56 mm. Width: 35 mm. Height: 28 mm. Weight: 204.4 g

24 [15] Edge fragment of copper alloy plano-convex ingot. A long fragment of plano-convex ingot. It has rough and uneven surface and some pits and cavities in the break surfaces. The surface is covered in a green patina.

Length: 80 mm. Width: 35 mm. Height: 26 mm. Weight: 294.5 g

25 [31] Edge fragment of copper alloy plano-convex ingot. A fragment of the edge of a small plano-convex ingot. It has very rough, uneven and pitted surfaces. The surface is covered in a (dark) green patina.

Length: 50 mm. Width: 38 mm. Height: 26 mm. Weight: 149.2 g

Type 3: Other ingot fragments

26 [23] Flat copper-alloy ingot fragment. This is a flat ingot fragment which is sub-rectangular in plan and slightly plano-convex in section. It may belong to a plano-convex ingot, but given its low height this is not certain. Its surfaces are rough and pitted and one of the flat sides is very uneven, with a ridge running diagonally across the fragment. Some cavities and pits can be seen in the break edges. The surfaces are covered in a green patina

Length: 60 mm. Width: 54 mm. Height: 17 mm. Weight: 235.7 g

27 [30] Fragment of copper-alloy ingot. This is a large and irregularly shaped lump of metal without any flat surfaces, so probably not part of a plano-convex ingot. It seems to consist of several large chunks of metal that are fused together. The pits, cracks and cavities in the surface may hint at where several items melted into each other, though this is speculative. Due to these features, the surfaces are rough and uneven. The fragment is covered in a green patina and a few patches of chalk are also adhering to the surface.

Length: 64 mm. Width: 39 mm. Height: 35 mm. Weight: 348.1 g

Flint

28 [N/A] Flint debitage(?). A small piece of worked flint was found in the topsoil of 'Driffield Hoard I'. It has a bulb if percussion on one side and on the opposite side at least four flakes seem to have been struck off lengthwise. The cortex is preserved on either side of this worked surface.

Length: 33 mm. Width: 23 mm. Height: 9 mm. Weight: 9.48 g.

Discussion

Axes

Yorkshire Type

Twelve axes in this hoard are of the Yorkshire Type (Schmidt and Burgess 1981, 223). As explained in the report for 'Driffield Hoard II', Type A axes, given their slender form, may actually be Welby Type axes rather than Yorkshire Type. This type is widespread in southern and eastern England and much rarer in the north (ibid. 221). However, quite a few axes of this Type that have been found in the north come from South-west and particularly East Yorkshire, which means that the Type A axe in the Driffield Hoards could well be Welby type axes.

Type A axe no. 1 in Hoard I is very similar in size and form to axe no. 23 in 'Driffield Hoard II'. They are probably not from the same mould (the haft ribs on the inside of the socket differ slightly), but given their similarity, they could have been made in the same workshop/by the same smith. This is interesting as, if true, there would be a direct link between the two Driffield Hoards. Axe no. 1, like the Type A axes in Hoard II, also seems to be in a good condition (better than most axes in Hoard I).

The other Yorkshire axes of sub-types C and D(?) are slightly different from each other and do not come from the same mould. As explained above, the axes in the sub-type E category (nos. 10 and 11) resemble axe no. 33 in 'Driffield Hoard II'. Axe no. 33 was unclassified (as there was only one axe of this type in Hoard II), but after nos. 10 and 11 were found in Hoard I, it was decided all three axes were similar enough to constitute a fifth (or fourth if Type A axes are indeed Welby Type axes) Yorkshire sub-type: Type E. This would establish another link between the two hoards. Axe no. 11 in Hoard I is in a good condition (better than most other axes in the hoard) with part of original surface preserved. Interestingly, the only Type E axe in Hoard II (no. 33) was arguably amongst the best preserved axes in Hoard II.

Everthorpe Type (Schmidt and Burgess 1981, 218)

One axe, no. 13, is most similar to Everthorpe Type axes illustrated on Plate 86-88 in Schmidt and Burgess (1981). These axes are the most widespread plain socketed axes in the north of England and Scotland and are characterised by a wedge-shaped form with slightly diverging sides, unexpanded or slightly expanded blades, a distinct, slightly flaring collar with a horizontal moulding below, which runs into the top of the loop (ibid. 218). The mouth of this type is square in plan with rounded collars and ribs are common in the socket (ibid.). Axe no. 13 fits this description very neatly. Everthorpe axes date to the earlier part of the Ewart Park phase and are concentrated in the south-eastern parts of Yorkshire, possibly suggesting a south Yorkshire workshop producing axes for the local market (ibid. 221). This type may be a more specialised version of the more common and widespread Yorkshire type, which is very similar in shape and form, but has the distinctive parallel rib decoration on the body (ibid.). These types often occur in hoards together, e.g. in the Everthorpe, Scalby Cliffs, Bilton, Sproatley, Westow and Pocklington hoards (all safe one from East Yorkshire). 'Driffield Hoard II' contained one axe (no. 45) that may be an Everthorpe Type axe, though this is not entirely certain.

Meldreth Type (Variant Westow) (Schmidt and Burgess 1981, 204-205, 208)

One axe (no. 14) has all the features of Type Meldreth axes, including a slender faceted body which runs into a trumpet-shaped collar with a mouth that is round in plan (Schmidt and Burgess 1981, 204-205). There is a wide variety in treatment of the collar within the Meldreth Type, which may have one or more mouldings, grooves or steps, and Schmidt and Burgess have divided the Type up according to these variations (ibid.). Variant Westow (which is rare in northern England and Scotland) has a mouth with multiple mouldings, just like axe no. 14 (ibid. 208). Similar axes are illustrated on Plate 84 (nos. 1249-1252) (ibid.). There is considerable variation in number and arrangement of the mouldings (cf. Schmidt and Burgess 1981, 208), which may explain why a direct parallel for axe no. 14 is hard to find, not only in the north, but also in the south of England, where these axes are far more common (see below).

Meldreth Type axes are well known throughout Britain, western Europe and Ireland and are a standard socketed axe type for the Carp's Tongue complex in southern England and northern France (ibid. 204, 210), dating to the Ewart Park phase. They mostly occur in southern England, suggesting they represent a south British tradition (ibid.). Here, Schmidt and Burgess (ibid.) suggest that they are frequently associated with hoards that also contain Yorkshire Type axes, although no examples of such hoards are given (ibid., 211). In the north, they occur most frequently in the east, thinning out towards the west and north (ibid. Plate 128). They occur in the same area as Type Yorkshire axes, which may explain their association in southern hoards (ibid.).

Axe summary

The 'Driffield Hoard I' contains at least three and possibly four types of axes. There are Yorkshire Type axes (of several sub-types), a Meldreth Type axe (Variant Westow) and an Everthorpe Type axe. If the Yorkshire Type A axe is indeed of the Welby Type, this would make four types. Unlike the bigger 'Driffield Hoard II', which had a number of axes of types that are more common in the south of England, Hoard I only had one axe with southern affinities (the Meldreth Type one). The Yorkshire Type originates in Yorkshire and Everthorpe Type axes are also confined to this area. Even if the Type A Yorkshire axe is indeed of the Welby Type, the number of 'southern' axes only comes to two. Thus, 'Driffield Hoard I' has a more regional or local signature than 'Driffield Hoard II'.

Still, the two hoards may well be related, as reflected in the great similarity of axe no. 1 in Hoard I with axe no. 23 in Hoard II, or the fact that the fifth Yorkshire Type sub-type (E) was only recognised after axes from both hoards were compared. Of course these links are tentative at the moment and need to be tested further.

The axe types in 'Driffield Hoard I' all date to the Ewart Park phase of the Late Bronze Age (c. 950-850 BC).

Ingot(s) (fragments)

The ingot fragments in 'Driffield Hoard I' can be divided into two groups; fragments of plano-convex ingots and other fragments. Most fragments (11 in total) were clearly of the plano-convex type. Based on their thickness and/or the curvature of their edges, most of these seem to belong to relatively thick and/or large ingots (nos. 15-21), but a few may come from smaller sized ingots (in many cases the size or shape of these fragments was such that their original size was hard to judge) (nos. 22-25). Two other fragments (nos. 26 and 27) could not be confidently assigned to the plano-convex group based on their shape. No. 26 seems rather flat, but could possibly be part of a plano-convex ingot (it is a plano-convex section, as it thins towards the edge of the fragment). The other fragment (no. 27) on the other hand, seems rather large and chunky and does not have a clear flat surface (which would be expected in plano-convex ingot fragments). However, this fragment too could be a heavily abraded fragment of a large or thick plano-convex ingot.

(Plano-convex) ingot fragments are a frequent inclusion in hoards of Later bronze Age Ewart Park date in the south of England (cf. Turner 2010, 86-7). Ingots of raw metal were transported and traded throughout Britain and Europe during the Late Bronze Age (cf. Pare 2013). They were often broken into fragments, ready to be smelted to make a range of bronze objects and seem to have functioned as a kind of currency (ibid.). Plano-convex ingots were cast in a dish-shaped mould, and are often referred to as 'bun' ingots due to their shape. More than 40 Ewart Park hoards, mostly from East Anglia, Essex and Kent, but also from Wales and Pembrokeshire contain fragments of such plano-convex ingots (see NMGW-BA6184 for more examples and more references).

In northern England, the inclusion of plano-convex ingots or ingot fragments in Late Bronze Age hoards is much rarer than in southern England, but there are a few examples of hoards with Yorkshire Type axes that contain (plano-convex) ingot fragments, including one from Scalby Cliffs, N.R. Yorkshire, (Schmidt and Burgess 1981, 229) and a large hoard from Gilmonby, Durham (Coggins and Tylecote 1983). The Scalby Cliffs Hoard contained two lumps of a plano-convex cake (Schmidt and Burgess 1981, 229), whilst the Gilmonby Hoard contained 'irregular', but also 'wedge shaped' and 'domed' fragments which may belong to plano-convex ingots (Coggins and Tylecote 1983, nos. 65-74). Two lumps of metal are mentioned in relation to the Everthorpe Hoard from East Yorkshire (Schmidt and Burgess 1981, 229, 230) but it is unclear if these are ingot fragments.

In summary, the inclusion of plano-convex ingot fragments in Late Bronze Age hoards is rare in northern England, happening far more regularly in the south. The inclusion of (plano-convex) ingot fragments in 'Driffield Hoard I' may suggest a southern link for this hoard.

Similar Hoards

Schmidt and Burgess (1981, 223-237), list a number of medium to large hoards in northern England and Scotland that contain Yorkshire Type axes. Below the most relevant of these are listed:

  • Kalemouth, Roxburghshire (Hoard C, Plate 145)
  • Kilkerran, Dailly, Ayrshire (Hoard B, Plate 147)
  • Kirkby Malzeard, West Riding Yorkshire (Hoard B, Plate 149)
  • Bilton Hoard, West Riding Yorkshire (Hoard A, Plate 151)
  • Scalby Cliffs, North Riding Yorkshire (Hoard A, Plate 150)
  • Everthorpe, East Riding Yorkshire (Hoard C, Plate 149)
  • Westow, East Riding Yorkshire (Hoard B, Plate 145)
  • Heathery Burn, Stanhope, Durham (NB: cave find, not a hoard)
  • Sproatley, East Riding Yorkshire (Hoard E, Plate 140)
  • Driffield, East Riding Yorkshire(?) (not illustrated in Schmidt and Burgess 1981, but see Britton and Longworth 1968)
  • Pocklington, East Riding Yorkshire (Hoard B, Plate 151)
  • Welburn-by-Kirkdale, North Riding Yorkshire (not illustrated in Schmidt and Burgess 1981)

Of these hoards, the following contain Everthorpe Type axes as well:

  • Kilkerran
  • Everthorpe
  • Scalby cliffs
  • Bilton
  • Sproatley
  • Westow
  • Pocklington

Two of these hoards also contain Welby Type axes (Sproatley and Pocklington) and one (Westow) contains an axe of Type Meldreth, Variant Westow (Schmidt and Burgess 1981, 234, 160, 208). Some of these hoards, like the Kilkerran, Scalby Cliffs and Bilton hoards also contained other materials, including sword fragments, spearheads, and tools such as gouges and chisels but the majority only contain axes (ibid. 225-226, 229, 189). The size of these hoards ranges from medium to large.

The Bilton Hoard contained Yorkshire Type axes alongside Type Everthorpe, South-eastern and Type Meldreth axes (ibid. 229). The Scalby Cliffs Hoard from North Yorkshire equally contained Yorkshire Type axes in association with axes of Type Meldreth, Everthorpe, Gillespie and Sompting (ibid. 229). This hoard also contained sword fragments and spearheads and it is the only other Yorkshire Type axe hoard listed in Schmidt and Burgess (ibid. 229, 230) that has fragments of plano-convex ingot as well (although lumps of metal are mentioned in the Everthorpe Hoard. The Westow Hoard originally contained about 60 axes, though only a number of these remain today (ibid. 208). Six of these are of the South-eastern Type (Variants Isle of Harty and Bilton), three Everthorpe Type axes and eleven Yorkshire Type axes (ibid. 208). The Sproatley Hoard is also similar in its composition, containing Yorkshire, South-eastern, Everthorpe and Welby Type axes (ibid. 160). This combination of axe types is similar to the one found in the 'Driffield Hoard I'. The Pocklington hoard, consisting of one Everthorpe Type axe, one Welby Type axe and two Yorkshire Type axes is also similar in composition, though a lot smaller than 'Driffield Hoard I'. The Everthorpe Hoard contained eight Everthorpe axes in combination with two Yorkshire Type axes, one axe of the Sompting Type and two lumps of metal (ibid. 230). This too resembles the 'Driffield Hoard I', though it does not contain ingot fragments.

A final northern English hoard that needs to be mentioned is a possible one from Driffield. Schmidt and Burgess (1981, 233), mention a Yorkshire Type axe that was "found with other celts and broken leaf-shaped swords" according to its British Museum label (BM 73.12-19.173). Unfortunately, no more information is known about this axe or the hoard, but if real, the two Driffield Hoards may not have been the first to have been found here. This 'concentration' of hoards is interesting and requires further research.

Arrangement of the hoard deposit

The Hoard was carefully lifted and recorded in three layers consisting of axes and ingot fragments (the finder pers. corr.). Few hoards have been recorded in situ so this provides us with a detailed insight into the arrangements of items within the Hoard. This is of great interest as it may inform us about how the hoard was deposited and whether it could be considered as a 'structured deposit', a possibility that has been proposed and debated for various prehistoric hoards (Dr. Leahy, pers. corr.). The hoard appears to have been covered by a layer of chalk rubble (ibid.). In 'Driffield Hoard I', the axes were covered by ingot fragments (ibid.). The axes seem to have been carefully 'laid out' in the hole, most of them aligned east-west and the hoard appeared to be constrained, as if originally placed in a container (ibid.). Notably, some axes held no soil in their sockets (ibid.). Perhaps this was the result of the axes being tightly packed into the pit or because they were covered with organic material. It is unlikely that they were hafted given the relatively small dimensions of the pit. The roughly oval pit (measuring 44 x 33 cm) with a depth of 41 cm below the surface seems to have been lined with chalk rubble and was dug into the fine silt covering the chalk (ibid.).

Landscape context of the hoard

To investigate the landscape context of the hoards, Dr. Hugh Willmott and his colleagues from the University of Sheffield carried out a geophysical survey. The site responded well and a number of curvilinear anomalies probably representing the presence of backfilled cut features were found. The features found may represent a hollow way, a palaeochannel and several ditched land boundaries. Further investigation is necessary to determine the date of the hollow way and field ditches.

Hoard summary

It is clear that the combination of axe types, including local and regional Yorkshire and Everthorpe Types, and one or two more 'southern type' axes that we find in the Driffield I Hoard is found in several other northern English and Scottish hoards, with the majority of these hoards being found in Yorkshire. In this respect, the Driffield I Hoard fits in quite well. However, the inclusion of ingot fragments (paralleled in 'Driffield Hoard II') is less common in northern hoards and this sets 'Driffield Hoard I' (and II) apart from most other northern hoards.

Both Driffield hoards, found close together in the same field near Driffield consisted of copper alloy ingot fragments and socketed axes, many of which were in a relatively good condition (some retaining their original bronze surfaces). It is likely that these two hoards are somehow related as reflected in their close proximity, the materials included within them and the types of axes present (all of which date to the Ewart Park phase). Indeed, there may be a direct link between both hoards, as one of the axes in Hoard I (no. 1) is very similar to one in Hoard II (no. 23). So similar in fact that they were first thought to be form the same mould. However, even though the two hoards are probably related to each other, there are some clear differences between them as well. Hoard I, containing 14 socketed axes and 13 ingot fragments, is clearly a lot smaller than Hoard II, which contains at least 59 complete or broken axes in addition to 13 axe fragments, 85 ingot fragments and two (nearly) complete plano-convex ingots. The axes in Hoard I are all complete, whereas Hoard II also includes broken or damaged axes and smaller, unidentifiable axe fragments. Although both hoards include axes of the Yorkshire (and possibly Welby) Type, the variety of axe types is higher in the larger Hoard II, which contains a relatively large number of axe types that are common in the south of England. Hoard I also has a southern Meldreth Type axe, but this is the only 'southern' axe in this hoard. Even if the one Yorkshire Type A axe is actually a (southern) Welby Type axe, there would only be two southern type axes in Hoard I, vs. nine (six complete and three fragments) in Hoard II (or even 18, if all Yorkshire Type A axes in Hoard II are in fact Welby Type axes). In both hoards the Yorkshire Type axes make up the bulk of the material, but in Hoard II they only represent about half of all axes (25 out of 45 identifiable axes), whereas they make up c. 86% of the axes in the hoard (12 out of 14 axes). Unlike Hoard II, which contained a number of unidentifiable axes, Hoard I's types were all clearly identifiable. It only contained three (possibly four) types, whereas Hoard II contained four, but possibly nine different types. Hoard I did not contain any axes with ingot fragments blocking their socket, unlike Hoard II, where four axes had ingot fragments wedged into their sockets. A final difference to note is the condition of the axes in both hoards.

In summary, 'Driffield Hoard I' arguably is more uniform and seems to have a more regional or local character than Hoard II, which seems more varied in terms of its axe types and the level of fragmentation of axes. However, the inclusion of (plano-convex) ingots, which were found in both hoards, is more common in hoards from southern Britain than in those from the north. This, in combination with at least one southern type axe suggests that 'Driffield Hoard I' does have southern connections, just like Hoard II.

Authors: F. Huisman (PhD candidate at Durham University and British Museum volunteer) and K. Leahy (National Finds Advisor, The Portable Antiquities Scheme)

Checked: Neil Wilkin, British Museum, May 2017

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the finder of the Driffield Hoards for providing details of the find.

Conclusion

The finds are all of Late Bronze Age date and represent a single find of two or more copper alloy finds of prehistoric date, they therefore qualify as Treasure under the stipulations of the Treasure Act (1996) (Designation Order 2002).

Bibliography

Britton, D. and Longworth, I.H. 1968, Inventaria Archaeologica, an illustrated card-inventory of important associated finds in archaeology, founded by M.-E. Mariën, Great Britain, 9th set: GB.55, Late Bronze Age finds in the Heathery Burn Cave, Co. Durham, London: The Trustees of the British Museum.

Coggins, D. and Tylecote, R.F. 1983, A hoard of Late Bronze Age metalwork from Gilmonby, near Bowes Co. Durham, The Bowes Archaeological Reports, No. 2.

Needham, S. Bronk Ramsey, C., Coombs, D.,Cartwright, C and Pettitt, P. 1997, 'An Independent Chronology for British Bronze Age Metalwork: The Results of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Programme', in Archaeological Journal, vol. 154:1, pp. 55-107.

Pare, C. 2013, 'Weighing, commodification, and money', in H. Fokkens and A. Harding (eds.), The Oxford handbook of the European Bronze Age, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 508-527.

Schmidt, P.K. and Burgess, C.B. 1981, The axes of Scotland and northern England, München: C.H. Beck'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung.

Turner, L. 2010, A Re-Interpretation of the Later Bronze Age metalwork Hoards of Essex and Kent, Oxford: BAR British Series No. 507.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Submitted for consideration as Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2016T239

Chronology

Broad period: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod from: Late
Period from: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod to: Late
Period to: BRONZE AGE

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 27

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mrs Rebecca Griffiths
Identified by: Dr Kevin Leahy
Secondary identifier: Dr Neil Wilkin

Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2016T239

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Uncertain

Spatial metadata

Region: Yorkshire and the Humber (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)
District: East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)
To be known as: Driffield Area

Spatial coordinates


Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Character undetermined

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Audit data

Recording Institution: YORYM
Created: 2 years ago
Updated: 12 months ago

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