LANCUM-C98FBF:

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Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
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Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
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Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
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Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
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Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
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Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
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Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
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HOARD

Unique ID: LANCUM-C98FBF

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

Very late Bronze Age Hoard consisting of one gold bracelet, three gold penannular lock-rings and a cauldron fragment all found together in one find spot. The bracelet and two of the lock rings are stained possibly from an organic residue either from the soil or items placed with them. The lock-rings are all made from gold sheet face plates that are bi-conical in form and triangular in section with central tubes and side plates formed from the same sheet and secured by a binding strip of round sectioned gold wire fused to the plate join to form an outer rim-binding to the rim. The face plates are all decorated with fine, narrow and concentric ring furrows incised into the surfaces and parallel with the circular edges of the face plates imitating fine wire works. Two of the lock-rings only differ by 1cm in width and 0.1 gram in weight indicting that they are a pair The third smaller lockring is singular however the similar form indicates the same craftsman or at least a the same workshop. The gold bracelet and smaller lock-ring are stained with what could be corrosion products but appears more like organic residue possibly from something in the soil or organic substances included at the time of deposition.

Gold penannular bracelet with a lonzenge-shaped profile, no decoration and flattened slightly expanded to form plain circular terminals.The diameter is 68mm the width is 68mm thickness 6mm, 8mm at the terminals and the weight 66.15g. It shares similarities with a bracelet from Beachy Head in East Sussex in the British Museum collection number 1824,K/Armilla.18.

Lockring 1. Gold lock-ring with a diameter of 34mm the width is 34mm thickness 11mm and the weight 8.24g. The ring is penannular, circular in shape, with a three dimensional and biconical shape and a triangular shaped cross-section. Two circular and decorated face-plates join at the external circumference. A circular-sectioned wire appears to have been fused to the plate join to form an outer rim-binding. The lock-ring plates are both decorated with narrow and concentric ring furrows incised into the surfaces and parallel with the circular edges of the face plates.

A central circular opening to the ring - probably once approximately 15mm in diameter - is lined by a third sheet. In effect, this creates an interior but discontinuous tube, with a gap in the vertical plane for the terminal aperture. The top and bottom margins of the tube were folded over the interior rim of the two face plates, giving the ring some structural cohesion. It would appear that the triangular end faces at the terminals were once integral extensions to the interior tube.

The face plates of the lock-ring are slightly creased and misshapen and at one point of tight creasing in the interior tube there is a small tear in the sheet and the concentric circle decoration is damaged through surface scarring. The gold has a deep yellow colour, consistent with additions of small proportions of copper to the alloy.

Lockring 2. Gold lock-ring with a diameter of 34mm the width is 34mm thickness 10mm and the weight 8.34g. The ring is penannular, circular in shape, with a three dimensional and biconical shape and a triangular shaped cross-section. Two circular and decorated face-plates join at the external circumference. A circular-sectioned wire appears to have been fused to the plate join to form an outer rim-binding. The lock-ring plates are both decorated with narrow and concentric ring furrows incised into the surfaces and parallel with the circular edges of the face plates.

The face plates of the lock-ring are slightly creased and misshapen especially at one point of tight creasing in the interior tube and the concentric circle decoration is damaged through surface scarring. The gold has a deep yellow colour, consistent with additions of small proportions of copper to the alloy.

Lockring 3. Gold lock-ring with a diameter of 27mm the width is 27mm thickness 10mm and the weight 4.40g. The ring is penannular, circular in shape, with a three dimensional and biconical shape and a triangular shaped cross-section. Two circular and decorated face-plates join at the external circumference. A circular-sectioned wire appears to have been fused to the plate join to form an outer rim-binding. The lock-ring plates are both decorated with narrow and concentric ring furrows incised into the surfaces and parallel with the circular edges of the face plates.

The face plates of the lock-ring are slightly stained from a residue on the surface that could be corrosion but appears to be more like organic residue. The gold has a deep yellow colour, consistent with additions of small proportions of copper to the alloy.

Cauldron fragment. The length is 27mm, the width is 31mm thickness 15mm and the weight 31.33g.

Lockrings are normally found in pairs leading to theories of their use as ear rings or for hair decoration. Although this find is unusual in that there are three however it is extremely likely that two are indeed a pair. It is still not clearly known what the purpose of these objects are however it does seem likely that they are indeed some form or ornamentation probably jewellery. They are usually buried in isolated high places and often in or near hillforts and other prehistoric features such as stone circles such as these were. Investigation of the find spot has revealed that they appear to have been laid in a small hollow in silty clay sub-soil or directly on the prehistoric land surface in two small channels in the limestone bed rock and covered over with stones. The bracelet appears to be a part of the deposition as does the copper alloy cauldron fragment although this could have been residual in the soil. However it's direct proximity to the other objects means that is has to be and should be included in the hoard assemblage.

Discussion

Lockrings are a distinct class of personal ornament belonging to the Late Bronze Age (Eogan 1969; 1983; 1994; Taylor 1980; Lynch 1991; Northover 1995; Gwilt et al 2005; Needham et al 2007).The artefacts associated with similar lock-rings in hoards across Britain, Ireland and France indicate a secure dating to the Ewart Park phase (Dowris phase in Ireland) of the Late Bronze Age (1000-800BC) (Eogan 1969, 106-7, 130-46; Cowie et al 1991; Northover 1995, 525-9; Needham et al 2008, 43). Recently, a radiocarbon date has been obtained from a sample directly associated with a large hoard of bronze artefacts and six gold lock-rings from near Berwick upon Tweed, Northumberland. The sample of wood, surviving within the haft of a socketed axe, provided a date of 2771+-26BP, calibrating to 1000-840BC at 2 sigma (Needham et al 2007, 400; 2008, 43), confirming the above attribution.

The intricate technique and quality of workmanship indicated in the making of lock-rings has long been commented upon, despite their small size (e.g. Eogan 1969, 93). Their precise function as personal ornaments remains uncertain (e.g. Taylor 1980, 68-9). For some, they are interpreted as ear-rings (e.g. Armstrong 1917, 29; Savory 1958, 14), the frequency of their occurrence in pairs being used as supporting evidence. Many would now see them instead as used for gathering the hair, hence their name lock-rings (Raftery 1967; Eogan 1969, 95-6; Lynch 1991, 239-41). What is generally agreed is that they denoted wealth and high-status within Late Bronze Age society. In Britain, the find-spots currently concentrate in three zones: firstly, south-western Ireland; secondly, north and west Wales, Northern England and Southern Scotland and thirdly, East Anglia and south eastern England (Eogan 1969, 97, Fig. 2; 1994, 100, Fig. 41). Their absence to date in the Midlands, mid and south Wales and south western England, with the single exception of one example from Somerset is marked and probably significant.

Gold or gold-on-base-metal rings and penannular rings are characteristic finds of the Middle to Late Bronze Age (1300-800 BC); they could have been used as hair-rings or earrings and are often found in pairs. The distribution of lock-rings shows a North British Group, a South British group, and a French group (Eogan 1969). The suggested date for this example is Late Bronze Age c.1150-800 BC. Similar penannular rings have been reported under the Treasure Act, for example 2014 T193 (ESS-C0C162) and 2012 T832 (SUSS-C65251).

There are currently six lockrings in the British Museum collections. These new examples are very similar to one from Portfield Camp, near Whalley in Lancashire even to the binding strip consisting of a solid round sectioned wire. Museum Number 1966, 1208:1.

They are also very similar to two discovered at Rossett in Wales in 2013 (LVPL-5DFE32) and semi-quantitative surface analysis of the gold was undertaken using a Bruker TRACeR III-SD hand-held X-ray fluorescent spectrometer (HHXRF) with a rhodium tube, and a titanium/aluminium filter. Several readings were taken at 40 kV and 9.6mA for 100 live seconds and quantified with the use of empirical calibrations. The average composition of the gold in freshly exposed and damaged areas was:- Gold 80-81%; silver 14%; copper 5%.The copper and silver contents matched with gold compositions from other Middle and Late Bronze Age artefacts in Ireland and Wales, although the copper content is towards the lower end of the expected range for Late Bronze Age gold (e.g. Hartmann 1980, 158, Figs .12 & 36; Davis 2005, 36 & Fig. 4).

References

Armstrong, E.C.R. 1917 The Great Clare Find of 1854, Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 47, 21-36.

Cowie, T., O'Connor, B. & Proudfoot, E. 1991 A Late Bronze Age Hoard from St Andrews, Fife, Scotland: a preliminary report, In C. Chevillot & A. Coffyn (eds.), L'Age de Bronze Atlantique; Ses faciès, de l'Ecosse a L'Andalusie et leurs relations avec le Bronze Continental et la Méditerranée, Beynac-et Cazenac: L'Association des Musées du Sarladais, 49-58.

Davis, M. 2005 Metallurgical Analysis of the Gold Bracelet Fragments, In Gwilt, A. et al 2005, 34-6.

Eogan, G. 1969 'Lock-Rings' of the Late Bronze Age, Proceedings of the Royal Iris Academy 67, 93-148.

Eogan, G. 1983 Hoards of the Irish Later Bronze Age, Dublin: University College, Dublin.

Eogan, G. 1994 The Accomplished Art; Gold and Gold-working in Britain and Ireland during the Bronze Age (c.2300-650BC), Oxbow Monograph 42, Oxford: Oxbow Books.

Gwilt, A. 2006 5666 National Museum Cardiff; The Burton Hoard, 2005 Review, London: The Art Fund, 141.

Hartmann, A. 1980 Appendix 3; Analyses by A. Hartmann of British Prehistoric Gold and some British Ores, In J.J. Taylor, Bronze Age Goldwork of the British Isles, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 138-85.

Gwilt, A., Kucharski, K. Silvester, R. & Davis, M. 2005 A Late Bronze Age Hoard from Trevaly Farm, Rossett, Wrexham; with some observations on hoarding practice and gold bracelet weights, Studia Celtica 34, 27-61.

Hartmann, A. 1980 Appendix 3; Analyses by A. Hartmann of British Prehistoric Gold and some British Ores, In J.J. Taylor, Bronze Age Goldwork of the British Isles, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 138-85.

La Niece, S. and Cartwright, C.R., 2009: Bronze Age gold lock-rings with cores of wax and wood, in eds. Kienlin, T. and Roberts, B., Metals and Societies, Studies in honour of Barbara S. Ottaway, Verlag Dr Rudolf Habelt, Bonn: 307-312.

Lynch, F. 1991 Prehistoric Anglesey; The Archaeology of the Island to the Roman Conquest, Llangefni: The Anglesey Antiquarian Society, 2nd edition.

Needham, S., Varndell, G. & Worrell, S. 2007 A Late Bronze Age Hoard of Gold and Bronze from near Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, In C. Burgess, P. Topping & F. Lynch (eds.), Beyond Stonehenge; Essays on the Bronze Age in Honour of Colin Burgess, Oxford: Oxbow Books, 397-402.

Needham, S. Worrell, S. & Varndell, G. 2008 64. Berwick-upon-Tweed area, Northumberland: Late Bronze Age goldand base metal hoard (2005 T120), Treasure Annual Report 2005/6, London: Department of Culture, Media and Sport, 41-4, 293-4 & Figs. 64-1-3.

Northover, J.P. 1995 Bronze Age Gold in Britain, In G. Morteani & J. P. Northover (eds.), Prehistoric Gold in Europe; Mines, Metallurgy and Manufacture, London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 515-31.

Raftery, J. 1967 The Gorteenreagh Hoard, In E. Rynne (ed.), North Munster Studies: Essays in commemoration of Monsignor Miehael Moloney, Limerick, 61-71.

Savory, H.N. 1958 The Late Bronze Age in Wales: Some New Discoveries and New Interpretations, Archaeologia Cambrensis 107, 3-63.

Taylor, J.J. 1980 Bronze Age Goldwork of the British Isles, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Notes:

Due to these objects being of prehistoric, Bronze Age date, and four of the objects being gold they qualify as treasure under the stipulations of The Treasure Act 1996.

Notes:

Due to these objects being of prehistoric, Bronze Age date, and four of the objects being gold they qualify as treasure under the stipulations of The Treasure Act 1996.

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: Regional importance

Class: Lock Ring

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Submitted for consideration as Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2017T352

Chronology

Broad period: BRONZE AGE
Period from: BRONZE AGE
Period to: BRONZE AGE
Date from: Circa 1150 BC
Date to: Circa 800 BC

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 5

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Saturday 15th April 2017 - Saturday 15th April 2017

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Stuart Noon
Identified by: Mr Stuart Noon
Secondary identifier: Mr Stuart Noon

Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2017T352

Materials and construction

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

Spatial metadata

Region: North West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Cumbria (County)
District: South Lakeland (District)
Parish or ward: Urswick (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SD2775
Four figure Latitude: 54.16558797
Four figure longitude: -3.11958929
1:25K map: SD2775
1:10K map: SD27NE
Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Minimal cultivation

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: LANCUM
Created: 2 years ago
Updated: About one year ago

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