|19 April 2009
3,000 year-old bracelet found in Northern Ireland
A County Tyrone (Northern Ireland) family could be in line for a reward after finding a rare Bronze Age gold bracelet on their land. Farmer Gary Sproule accidentally unearthed the precious artefact while ploughing over a field at Castlegore near Castlederg last April. The intricate item is believed to date from 1,000 BCE.
An inquest was held in Belfast at which the item was officially classified as treasure. Under the British law, a 'treasure trove' inquest must be held by the coroner to determine the significance of such finds. The finder of the item, as well as the landowner, are often then entitled to a discretionary reward.
Speaking after the inquest, Mr Sproule said: "When I saw it I knew it had to be something special. It looked extremely old but it was in amazing condition. I couldn't believe that it hadn't been damaged, as it's about 3,000 years old. It's amazing to think that there were Bronze Age settlers right here on my doorstep."
Expert witness Richard Warner, a former archaeologist at the Ulster Museum, said that although a detailed analysis of the bracelet had not been carried out, similar objects have been found to contain 80% gold and 15% silver. "It would have been owned by a wealthy person, possibly a priest, a high ranking warrior or tribal chieftain," he said. Mr Sherrard described the bracelet as a 'remarkable find' and urged anyone else finding such items to ensure that they are reported to the authorities.
According to the National Museum of Ireland, a similar piece dating between 900-700 BCE was found around 300 years ago in Killymoon, Co Tyrone, although unlike the find at Killymoon, which was a plain design, this recent discovery is highly decorative.
Source: Belfast Telegraph (16 April 2009)
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