| 3 April 2004
3,000 year-old mirror discovered in Scotland?
Experts from the national museum are rushing to the Borders after a rare piece of treasure was unearthed near Yetholm. Local historians are already describing the find as one of the most important ever in the south of Scotland. And if their early calculations are right – the object may be a 3,000 year-old mirror.
Historical author and broadcaster Alistair Moffat was given a sneak preview of the object this week. He said: "There were two Bronze Age shields found near the site at Yetholm in the 19th Century. And we believe this dates from around the same time. But after much discussion we think this is in fact a mirror, rather than a shield. If it is, it would be the first Bronze Age mirror found in Scotland."
The find-site, only half-a-mile from the Roxburghshire village, is believed to have been the bottom of a small loch during the Bronze Age. Borders historian Walter Elliot contacted the National Museum of Scotland after being shown the 14-inch circular bronze artefact. He said: "In all the years I've been involved with archaeology, I have never seen anything like it. Bronze Age finds are extremely rare for this part of the country. I have been searching through all the books trying to work out exactly what it is, and I'm inclined to think it is a mirror, although we will have to see what the people from the museum think.
Metal detector enthusiasts Alf Slingsby and Roger Elliot discovered the first piece of the object just after Christmas. And for the past nine weeks they have been returning to site almost daily to locate more parts of the Bronze Age jigsaw.
Roger Elliot, from nearby Kelso, has been metal-detecting for over 25 years, and is convinced he has found something very special. "We have now found over 100 parts of the item," he said, "And it is almost complete. We first thought it was a shield because of the previous finds, from the 1830s. But once we showed it to Alistair Moffat and Walter Elliot they both thought it was a mirror.
Experts Trevor Cowie and Fraser Hunter, from the national museum, are due down in the Borders to cast their eyes over the find. Neither wanted to predict what the mystery object was prior to viewing and carrying out tests.
Borders Today (2 April 2004)
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