HAMP-7A1CBA: Middle Bronze Age hoard

Rights Holder: Hampshire Cultural Trust
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Rights Holder: Hampshire Cultural Trust
CC License:

Rights Holder: Hampshire Cultural Trust
CC License:

Rights Holder: Hampshire Cultural Trust
CC License:

Rights Holder: Hampshire Cultural Trust
CC License:

Rights Holder: Hampshire Cultural Trust
CC License:

Rights Holder: Hampshire Cultural Trust
CC License:

Rights Holder: Hampshire Cultural Trust
CC License:

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HOARD

Unique ID: HAMP-7A1CBA

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A hoard of ten complete/ incomplete/ fragmentary Middle Bronze Age palstave axeheads. The first discovered (no.1) was found c.18 inches below the surface, and below the plough soil. A further nine items were found in the plough soil over a c.50 metre area, 4-6 inches below the surface.

The numbering of this catalogue replicates the numbering of the finds marked on their bags.

1. Palstave axehead, copper alloy, unlooped, the casting seams have been trimmed and the blade has been forged and used, the axe is considerably more worn/eroded than the rest of the palstaves and palstave fragments from this find. It stands out among the group. Decoration consists of a triangular shaped, indentation with raised mid-rib emerging from it and continuing down the blade. The palstave has an elongated hexagonal cross-section. Dimensions: Length: 150mm; Blade width (of cutting blade): 58mm; Width (of butt): 20mm; Width across bar stop taken on top/bottom of palstave: 25mm; Weight: 483.4g.

2. Palstave axehead, looped, copper alloy, in ‘as cast’ condition, with visible casting flashes and unsharpened blade. The loop is filled. The surfaces have a silvery appearance possibly due to high tin levels. The bottom of the palstave has a series of short (stitch-like) lines, running perpendicular to the casting seam. Decoration consists of a triangular motif from which emerges the mid-rib. Dimensions: Length: 160mm; Width (of cutting blade): 42mm; Width (of butt, which is broken/incomplete where casting jet removed): 25mm; Width across bar stop taken on top/bottom of palstave: 29mm; Weight: 369.2g.

3. Palstave axehead, copper alloy, looped, with flanged sides and mid-rib decoration, with two short lines on either side of the mid-rib. The cutting edge of the blade is broken. The surfaces have a silvery appearance possibly due to high tin levels. The loop is filled. Dimensions: Length: 158mm; Blade width (cutting edge): 66mm; Width (of butt): 23mm; Width across bar stop taken on top/bottom of palstave: 25mm; Weight: 353.2g.

4. Fragment of a palstave axehead, copper alloy, being the blade and body up to the bar stop, no trace of a loop, which one would expect to see on this portion of the axehead, if it had been present. Mid-rib emerging from and cutting through a triangular-shape decoration. Relatively neat casting flashes (but may not have been trimmed) but the blade is ‘as cast’ and unforged. Dimensions: Length: 103mm; Blade width (cutting edge): 49mm; Width (at broken end): 25mm; Width across bar stop taken on top/bottom of palstave: 28mm; Weight: 298.6g

5. Fragment of a palstave axehead, looped, copper alloy, broken at the bar-stop, heavily corroded and it is not possible to see any evidence of cleaning/forging. The decoration and proportions of the axe are very similar to palstave No. 2. Dimension: Length: 98mm; Blade width (cutting edge): 41mm (broken); Weight: 280.8g.

6. Fragment of a palstave axehead, copper alloy, being the butt end of a palstave. Dimensions: Length: 57mm; Width (max.) on top/bottom: 24mm; Width (of septum) (max.): 27mm; Butt thickness: 7mm; Weight: 93.2g.

7. Fragment of a palstave axehead, copper alloy, being the butt end of a palstave. Dimensions: Length: 50mm; Width (max.) on top/bottom: 24mm; Width (of septum) (max.): 27mm; Butt thickness: 8mm; Weight: 131.42g.

8. Fragment of a palstave axhead, copper alloy, being the butt end of a palstave. Dimensions: Length: 53mm; Width (max.) on top/bottom: 15mm; Width (of septum) (max.): 26mm; Butt thickness: 11mm; Weight: 94.8g.

9. Ingot fragment, copper alloy, plate-like in shape. Dimensions: 45mm by 32mm, thickness: 11.5mm; Weight: 49.61g

10. Casting jet/sprue, copper alloy, showing evidence for how the smith removed the jet from the cast object,showing that the sprue was half cut/sawn and then broken off. It is also possible to detect evidence of the ?clay mould into which the metal was poured. A notable object for revealing metalworking processes/technology. Dimensions: Thickness: 27mm; Width: 27 (min.) – 52mm (max.); Weight: 131.42g.

Discussion: The objects described above were dispersed rather than from a closed deposit. They may all date to the Middle Bronze Age, although the casting waste material (Nos. 9-10) is less diagnostic. The palstaves (complete and fragmentary) are diagnostic and can be assigned to the Taunton phase of the Middle Bronze Age (i.e. c.1400-1300/1250 BC). The palstaves (Nos. 2-8) form a relatively coherent group and many, if not all, are unfinished/sharpened (see catalogue for details). Axe No. 1, in contrast, appears to have been used. Nevertheless I would recommend (on the balance of chronology and probability) that the group be taken as together a ‘find’ of Treasure and not split. Examples of similar hoards can be found in, for example, Rowlands (1976), and they are a relatively common find of the Middle Bronze Age in southern England.

Notes:

Conclusion: The objects detailed above (Nos. 1-10) qualify as Treasure under the stipulations of the Treasure Act (1996) (Designation Order 2002), being a find of more than one base metal object of prehistoric (Bronze Age) date.

Bibliography: Rowlands, M J, 1976 The Production and Distribution of Metalwork in the Middle Bronze Age of Southern Britain, British Archaeological Reports, British Series 31. Oxford: BAR

Note: Weights of objects are prior to cleaning (i.e. some with soil still adhering).

Brendan O'Connor adds: "Palstaves 2 and 5 belong to the looped Norman type, likewise no 4 which is unlooped Norman.  No 1, without a distinct stopridge, is probably a Werrar type (Rowlands Class 4), characteristic of the Isle of Wight. 5 is a bit unusual in that these side-flanged palstaves do not often have a loop.  All this is indeed consistent with a Taunton phase hoard, of which there are several along the coast between Southampton and Portsmouth. Another was found 'near' Titchfield in 1897."

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder after being disclaimed as Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2018T633

Chronology

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

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 10

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Saturday 1st September 2018 - Saturday 1st September 2018

Personal details

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Other reference numbers

Other reference: Hampshire Cultural Trust Object Entry Form WINCM 704
Treasure case number: 2018T633

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Uncertain

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Hampshire (County)
District: Fareham (District)
To be known as: Titchfield

Spatial coordinates


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

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Audit data

Recording Institution: HAMP
Created: 3 years ago
Updated: 9 months ago

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