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12 September 2009
Cumbrian museum acquires Bronze Age treasure

A rare early Bronze Age find - the first of its type in the UK for 100 years - has been acquired by Tullie House Museum in Carlisle (Cumbria, England). It is a section of a necklace and was found in Brampton last year by a metal detector enthusiast. The fragment was thought to be a piece of gold.
    The museum passed on to Portable Antiquities Finds liaison officer Dot Boughton, who recognised it as the terminal from an early Bronze Age lunula. It was therefore found to be treasure, and went to the British Museum for valuation. Tullie House was given the opportunity to acquire it as part of the treasure process.
    The item comes from one end of a crescent-shaped gold necklace. In the 18th century, these were christened lunulae, because of their similarity to a crescent moon. They are made of sheet gold with expanded terminals that link together behind the neck, and are common in Ireland, where more than 85 have been found. They are much less common in Britain however, where only about 12 are known. They tend to be found in western areas including Cornwall, Scotland and Wales. The Brampton fragment is very similar to complete ones from Auentaggart, near Dumfries, and Orbliston, Morayshire. Both of these were found in the 19th century and this latest discovery is the first lunula to be found in Britain for more than 100 years.
    Tim Padley, Tullie House's Keeper of Archaeology, said: "It shows that these high status objects were being used in Cumbria and shows that there was some kind of connection between Cumbria and both Scotland and Ireland around 1900 BCE. This could have been trade or the exchange of ideas or gifts. Tullie House is very glad to acquire this object, which is an important addition to its prehistoric displays."

Source: The Cumberland News (11 September2009)

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