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3 December 2006
Museum reveals rare Iron Age spoons

There are only 23 more of them in the world and it's been 80 years since anybody found some before these ones turned up. What are these rare artefacts? They are mysterious bronze spoons, always found in pairs, dating from 800 BCE 100 CE, and Shrewsbury Museum (Shropshire, England) is the proud owner of the most recently discovered set.
     Local metal detectorist Trevor Brown found the spoons in mid-Shropshire in 2005, and reported them to the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Archaeologists recognised the spoons as coming from the Iron Age, but what they were used for is uncertain. One of the spoons is decorated with a carved cross, bearing a circle at the centre, while the other is plain but torn where there was once a perforation. They may have had a ritual or divinatory purpose perhaps liquid was dripped from one to the other, predicting the future. Or their function could have been more prosaic. Whichever the case, they are enigmatic items.
     Declared Treasure, the Shropshire spoons were purchased for Shrewsbury Museums Service and are on display for the first time from December 1, 2006. They can be seen at Shrewsbury Museum until December 22 alongside other recent purchases, donations and loaned items dating from the Iron Age to the 17th century. Peter Reavill, Finds Liaison Officer for Shropshire and Herfordshire, runs regular find identification days at Shrewsbury Museum - contact the Museum for more information if you would like to consult him.
     Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, Rowley's House, Barker Street, Shrewsbury, SY1 1QH, Shropshire, England. Tel: 01743 361196 - Open: Tues-Sat: 1000-1700 Sun & Bank Holidays: 1000-1600 Mondays: 10.00-16.00 (Summer Holiday period July-Sept)

Source: Caroline Lewis for 24 Hour Museum (1 December 2006)

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