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14 April 2006
Bronze Age treasure trove unearthed in Northumberland

Gold rings dating back 3000 years to the Bronze Age were among a hoard of riches found near Haggerston Castle (Northumberland, England) by a man using a metal detector. A treasure trove inquest at Berwick Court heard how John Minns made the amazing discovery in a farmer's field while staying in the area on April 11 last year.
     More than 50 individual items were unearthed by Mr Minns, including six gold lock rings, six copper alloy socketed axe heads, looped axe heads, bronze rings, a dagger and a rare pear-shaped bronze ingot from a crucible. It is thought the treasures were placed in the narrow pit for safe keeping with the intention they would be picked up at a later date, or perhaps by future generations. The exact location of the find is being kept secret for fear of an invasion by prospectors, although a subsequent search of the surrounding area uncovered nothing further. The pieces were handed over to the British Museum for a formal assessment which experts, using carbon dating techniques, discovered dated back to 800-1000BCE.
     The Haggerston find has been compared to a similar discovery at Ewart, near Wooler, which was also dated to the late Bronze Age period. North Northumberland coroner Ian McCreath ruled the hoard should be treated as treasure and handed over permanently to the British Museum in London, although he recommended part of the collection be loaned out locally. He said: "They are already at the British Museum and I would expect a hoard of this significance would need to be kept at the museum but I will invite them to consider the possibility of making part of the collection available at a more local level."
     Rob Collins, finds liaison officer for the north east, said: "From an archaeological perspective it's a very interesting find because some of the artefacts are unique and have not been seen before. "In the British context it might suggest far more extensive communications between the Borders area and further afield than had been previously thought." Chris Green, curator at the Berwick Borough Museum, welcomed the possibility of the treasures making their way further north.

Source: Berwick Today (13 April 2006)

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