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The Crundale Bronze Age Hoard

In September 2003, Jim Bishop commenced a search with a metal detector on farmland at Crundale. Among a number of finds made during the course of the day were a fragment of copper alloy blade and a spear tip. These were clearly of Bronze Age date, and suggested the presence of a dispersed hoard in the vicinity. However, the objects were found some distance away from each other and at that point it was not clear that they could be considered to come from the same context. A further search located a third Bronze Age fragment, part of a sword blade. These objects were subsequently shown to the FLO for Kent . The finder returned to the site in December, and investigated a large signal, roughly in the middle of the area between the findspots of the three Bronze Age objects. This signal proved to be a large Late Bronze Age metalwork hoard, which the finder then excavated.

The recovered hoard consists of 185 pieces of metalwork, comprising both largely complete objects and fragments. Apart from the three objects found in September, all the finds came from the same context, a shallow pit just below the ploughsoil. According to the finder, the pieces of cast copper cake were mainly deposited in the bottom of the pit, with the other artefacts mixed above. The first object found during the excavation of the main hoard was the complete razor'.

The composition of the hoard breaks downs as follows:

          • Axeheads (including fragments of) - 48
          • Sword or dagger fragments - 33
          • Cast copper cake fragments - 33
          • Spearheads (including fragments of) - 14
          • Rings - 4 Razors (including fragments of) - 3
          • Gouges 2 Other objects and fragments - 42
          • Objects inserted into sockets - 6

          • Total objects - 185

The high proportions of axeheads, short lengths of sword and dagger blade, fragments of bun ingot and spearheads, are typical of late Bronze Age metalwork hoard's from the south east of Britain . It is hoped that some fieldwork at the site can be arranged in order to provide this important find with a more detailed context.

Further work has been undertaken on the Hollingbourne LBA hoard, both on the metalwork and at the site itself. The finds were examined by Martyn Barber and were referred to by him in his recent book on bronze and the Bronze Age (Barber 2003). A report on the metalwork from the site has now been prepared by Sally Worrell, PAS Finds Advisor for Prehistoric and Roman artefacts, and on the basis of this and evidence from Kent FLO Andrew Richardson the Hollingbourne finds were declared Treasure by Mid-Kent Coroner Roger Sykes on 2 nd April 2004. It in fact seems probable that two distinct hoards, albeit of the same period, were located at Hollingbourne, and the Coroner's findings supported this interpretation. At the site itself a magnetometer survey, funded by the BBC's Hidden Treasure series, was carried out by GSB. This located a number of possible archaeological features, including possible pits and circular features. It is hoped that future fieldwork will allow the investigation of these.


See also Kent Archaeological Newsletter, issue 60, 2004