HAMP-B37694: Iron Age tankard (number one)

Rights Holder: Hampshire Cultural Trust
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Rights Holder: Hampshire Cultural Trust
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Rights Holder: Hampshire Cultural Trust
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Rights Holder: Hampshire Cultural Trust
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Rights Holder: Hampshire Cultural Trust
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Rights Holder: Hampshire Cultural Trust
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Rights Holder: Hampshire Cultural Trust
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Rights Holder: Hampshire Cultural Trust
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Rights Holder: Hampshire Cultural Trust
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Rights Holder: Hampshire Cultural Trust
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Rights Holder: Hampshire Cultural Trust
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Rights Holder: Hampshire Cultural Trust
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Unique ID: HAMP-B37694

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

The find comprises five finds: two stave-built tankards with copper alloy fittings, a pair of shears, a circular iron knife and a ceramic vessel. The objects have not yet been closely examined, as they are extremely fragile, and considerable conservation work would be needed to make a more complete investigation possible.
White powdery material apparent in the soil recovered during the excavation may represent powdered bone, or may be chalk. No fragments of bone of any size or recognizable shape has survived.

Tankard 1 - This object is in a fragile state and retains its soil infill. It is slightly squashed with an 'oval' diameter of c.120 x 130mm. It currently stands c.90mm in height.
The body of the tankard comprises three copper alloy bands, which would originally have surrounded a stave-built wooden vessel. The top band is 18mm wide, the middle band 21mm wide and the lower is currently unmeasurable due to the delicate nature of the object. The sheet metal bands are less than 1mm in thickness and the upper and lower edges are curved forwards to form a beaded rim. The bands are apparently undecorated. The middle band has slipped downwards on top of the bottom band. Adjacent to the inside edge of the top band is a piece of wooden stave, and there are further fragments of wood in the soil infill.
The tankard handle is a C-shaped loop, affixed on one side between the top and bottom of the middle band. It is relatively plain, with a pair of parallel incised lines running down the length of the outside. Both long edges have a thickened rim. The handle measures 6.9mm wide and 2.8mm thick.
Julia Farley comments that this handle is a Horn Type 1 (Horn 2015). Similar examples from dated contexts generally fall around 75-10 BC.

Tankard 2 - This object is particularly fragile as it is missing its soil infill (which was removed by the finder upon discovery). A bag of fragments believed to be from the upper part of the object have not been examined in detail.
The object measures c.155 x 160mm in diameter and currently stands 70mm in height.
It comprises a single surviving copper alloy band, 70mm wide and less than 1mm thick. There is no decoration, although dried soil adheres much of the surface. There is at least one more upper band of similar dimensions missing.
Like no. 1, this would originally have been a stave-built wooden vessel with copper alloy bands and a single handle. The handle is C-shaped in profile and formed of a central moulded ring with a tear-drop shape curving away above and below. These terminate in a c.30mm long cross-bar at either end, semi-circular in cross-section (being flat to the reverse). Fixed to the reverse of the upper cross-bar is a rectangular strip 11mm wide, 2mm thick, and c.90mm in length. It widens at the opposite end, just above the handle's lower cross-bar. At the narrower end, above the upper cross-bar of the handle, is an off-centre c.10mm long copper alloy nail. Behind the strip and running for the length of the handle, are substantial remains of a wooden stave. Behind each cross-bar of the handle are two large circular-headed rivets.
The handle is probably a Horn Type 3 (Horn 2015), dating to AD c.40-75, although the fixing mechanism is more similar to those of Horn's Type 2, dating to 25 BC to AD 50.

Shears - The pair of iron shears is now in four pieces, damaged on removal from the ground by the finder. The tips have been broken and are in three pieces.
At the top of the shears is a loop 46mm in diameter, 27mm wide and 7.5mm thick. At the shoulders this narrows to 9mm wide. Below, the arms angle outwards over c.60mm before expanding at the blades, inwards from the outside edge. At this point they are 25mm wide. The outside edge is 5.5mm thick, narrowing to c.2mm thick at the cutting edge. The blades gradually narrow over 66mm and 72mm to the recent breaks. They are both c.20mm wide at this point. With the fragments replaced it is apparent that the outside edge of the blade curves convexly whilst the inside edge retains a straight line, each terminating in a point.
Cf. 1976,0501.1028 in the BM Online Collections, from King Harry Lane cemetery. These are from a context dated AD c.1-60 (Stead and Rigby 1989).

Knife/ disc - This object is comprised of a flat, circular iron disc with central perforation and several raised circular bosses (or rivet heads) on either side. It measures 77 x 70mm in 'diameter' (much of the original edges are missing) and is max. 14mm thick at the bosses; excluding these the object is 5mm thick. The central perforation measures 8 x 7mm.
On one face are four domed bosses, irregularly spaced but placed around the central perforation. Two of these apparently have remains of a rivet on the reverse.
Cf. 1976,0501.874 in the BM Online Collections, from King Harry Lane cemetery. These are from a context dated AD c.1-60 (Stead and Rigby 1989).
[Images 4a, 4b and 4c]

Vessel - The ceramic vessel retains its soil infill but is in a very fragile state. It measures max. c.160mm in height and has a diameter c.210mm. The fabric is friable and a dark grey/ black in colour.

These objects most likely represent the grave goods from a Late Iron Age burial, dating to the mid-first century AD. Four of the objects are base metal.
Consequently, as the find includes a prehistoric base metal assemblage, the entire group qualifies as Treasure under the 2003 amendment to the Treasure Act 1996.

Horn, J.A. 2015. Tankards of the British Iron Age. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 81, 1-31.
Stead, I.M. and Rigby, V. 1989. Verulamium: The King Harry Lane site. English Heritage in association with British Museum Publications.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Acquired by museum after being declared Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2017T125


Broad period: IRON AGE
Subperiod from: Late
Period from: IRON AGE
Subperiod to: Late
Period to: IRON AGE
Date from: Circa 75 BC
Date to: Circa AD 60

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 5

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Tuesday 24th January 2017 - Wednesday 25th January 2017

Personal details

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Other reference numbers

Other reference: Hampshire Cultural Trust Object Entry Form WINCM 413
Treasure case number: 2017T125
Museum accession number: HMCMS:A2019.40

Materials and construction

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

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Hampshire (County)
District: Basingstoke and Deane (District)
To be known as: Basingstoke

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: GPS (From FLO)
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
Discovery circumstances: Initial find by metal detetector; subsequently excavated by Basingstoke Archaeological Society
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

Author Publication Year Title Publication Place Publisher Pages Reference
Stead, I.M. and Rigby, V. 1989 Verulamium: the King Harry Lane Site English Heritage Archaeological Report 12

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: HAMP
Created: 5 years ago
Updated: 2 years ago

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