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27 August 2006
3,000-year-old hoard of treasure found in England

Three amber beads, two bronze rings, a bugle-shaped fitting and a fragment of a spearhead, found six inches below ground in a field near Sedgefield, County Durham (England), are thought to have been part of an ancient burial ceremony.
     Robert Collins, from the Museum of Antiquities, in Newcastle, said the items, thought to date from between 1000 and 800 BCE, also suggest there were fixed settlements in the Sedgefield area. He said: "Sedgefield does seem to have been an area which was occupied. Apart from this find, we have also found items from the Neolithic period (4000-2000 BCE) in the area."
     The hoard was discovered in August last year by Susan Lister and Philip Townsend, two members of Quaker Acres, a metal detector group, which was scouring the area in search of treasure. The discovery has just come to light because the courts must now decide whether the item should be legally classified as treasure. The items are being stored in the British Museum, London. However, the Bowes Museum, in Barnard Castle, County Durham, is thought to be interested in buying them and if the courts decide the items are treasure, they could be returned to the region.
     Alison Hodgson, of the Sedgefield Local History group, said: "I think it's great that people are taking a greater interest. When people are engaged with something, they're less likely to be involved in destroying it." The hearing to decide whether the hoard should be classified as treasure will be heard at Chester-le-Street Magistrates' Court, on Tuesday, September 12, at 2.50pm.

Source: The Northern Echo (26 August 2006)

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