| 1 July 2003
Rare gold cup procured by British Museum
A rare gold cup dating back to the Stonehenge era (1700–1500 BCE) has been procured by the British Museum. Crafted from sheet metal and the only second example of its type to originate in the UK, with only five similar cups having been found in all of continental Europe, the cup provides further proof of the extensive European trading networks during the Bronze era. It was found in Ringlemere, east Kent (England) in November 2001 by a retired electrician, Cliff Bradshaw, while using a metal detector to sweep a farmer's field.
'I couldn't believe what I had', said Mr. Bradshaw. 'I'd never had that much gold in my hand. It didn't seem Saxon to me, but I couldn't put a name on it.'
Since the discovery, archaeologists working at the site have uncovered a previously unknown burial site from the early Bronze Age. However, whether the cup was dislodged from the grave by modern ploughing—as some are speculating—remains to be proven.
The purchase of the Ringlemere cup was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, The National Art Collections Fund, and Friends of the British Museum. It is currently on display in the London museum's Round Reading Room and will feature in the BBC television series 'Hidden Treasures' later this autumn.
Sources: BBC News (25 June 2003), News.Scotsman.com (25 June 2003)
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