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16 April 2007
Bronze Age gold ring declared treasure in Britain

A 3,000-year-old gold ring found in Buntingford (Hertfordshire, England) has been declared as treasure. The penannular ring from the Bronze Age has been dated by an expert as being from between 1150 and 750 BCE. Hertfordshire coroner Edward Thomas ruled that a panel will decide on its value and any reward for its finder.
     The ring, weighing two-fifths of an ounce (12.7g) features stripes in two tones of gold on a base of copper alloy and is about one inch (2.5cm) in diameter. It was discovered buried four inches (10cm) deep in soil on August 6 last year by a metal detector after excavations on the site. The location cannot be disclosed to prevent other people conducting digs.
     Gillian Varndell, the curator on the pre-history and Europe department at the British Museum who authenticated the ring, said that the department was familiar with penannular (almost ringlike) rings, but did not know where they were worn or what significance they held. "People were not buried with them on them, so we are not sure how they were worn," she said. "They were certainly not worn on the fingers, but could have been earrings or worn in the hair. "Gold was as highly valued then as it is now, but we do not know if the shape of these rings was of any significance. It could have just been a popular aesthetic, but it could also have been of symbolic importance because they were made over a long span of time in a similar shape."
     The find predates any recorded history of a settlement in the historic market town. The valuation placed on the ring is likely to be in the region of 700-1,000. Mr Thomas said it might be acquired by a local museum for the public to see.

Source: Royston and Buntingford Mercury (13 April 2007)

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