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7 June 2009
Ancient artefacts found in West Yorkshire

Ancient artefacts dating back 4,000 years dug up by a gardener at a farm near Haworth (West Yorkshire, England) have been officially recognised as treasure and declared as 'unique' at an inquest in Bradford. Three urns containing an accessory, ceramic vessel, a stone battle axe and a pair of bronze copper alloy earrings were unearthed at Cross Farm, in Stanbury, during landscaping work. Human bones were found in the largest urn and examinations of the skull suggested they were of a male of high social standing. A belt fastener and a bone pin were also unearthed.
     Treasure inquests are held to establish where, when and whether they were found and if items can be classed as treasure. Deputy assistant coroner Paul Marks recorded that the discoveries were treasure, dating back to the Early Bronze Age, at Bradford Coroner's Court. He said it was only the fourth such inquest ever to be heard in Bradford.
     Peter Holmes, of Valley View, Harden, a builder, was digging by hand as he carried out landscaping work at Cross Lane Farm on March 12, 2007, when he made the discovery. He told the inquest: "I was using a shovel when I saw what I thought was a hammer head. So I picked it up and compared it with my hammer and when I realised what it was I stopped working and waited for Mr Mathers (the landowner) to come back." The item turned out to be a stone battle axe which had been in the broken base of the largest of the three urns.
     Phillip Mathers contacted Manor House Museum, in Ilkley, whose staff called Archaeological Services WYAS in Morley. They excavated two near-complete urns out of the pit. They were x-rayed at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds then micro-excavated by conservators at the York Archaeological Trust. Dr Jane Richardson, senior project manager at Archaeological Services WYAS, said: "It's a very unusual deposit, exceptional. We have never discovered anything like it. There are plenty of examples of urns with different objects and a stone battle axe but no single deposit in the country that we know of that has collared urns, bronze earrings and an accessory vessel. The assemblage in its entirety is unique." She said the entire find dated back to sometime between 1960BC and 1780 BCE.
     The finder and the landowner will receive a reward. If no museum has the desire or money to obtain the items then the finder and landowner will own the objects jointly.

Source: Telegraph & Argus (4 June 2009)

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