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An 8th century Anglo-Saxon brooch representing the Christian tree of life
Image credit Department for Culture/PA
 
The Guardian reports that –
 

An elaborate Anglo-Saxon brooch that is more than 1,000 years old may be exported if a UK buyer is not found who will pay at least £8,000 for it. The gilt bronze brooch, from the late 8th century, is one of just 12 such ornaments in existence, and it stands out from the rest for the skill and creativity employed in the creation of its unique complex leaf pattern, which could represent the Christian tree of life.

An illustration dating from the same period of the Virgin Mary in the Book of Kells shows her wearing a similar brooch, suggesting they were worn by high-status women. Experts said the brooch is of outstanding significance for the study of Anglo-Saxon art and material culture, but it could be exported unless a UK buyer matches the £8,460 asking price.

Full article here.

 

The Huge History Lesson
©
Trustees of the British Museum
 
 
Thin filaments of gold spirals found in a field in eastern Denmark
©
West Zealand Museum, Denmark
 
BBC News reports on nearly 2,000 tiny golden spirals found in a field in eastern Denmark –
 
The coils, made from thin filaments about 3cm (1in) long, date from between 900BC and 700BC, according to Flemming Kaul of the National Museum in Copenhagen. But he and his colleagues aren’t quite sure what they have found. “The fact is we don’t know what they were for, although I’m inclined to think they were part of a priest-king’s robes, perhaps a fringe on a head-piece or parasol, or maybe woven into cloth,” he says on the museum’s website. The gold spirals will go on display at Skaelskor City Museum next week.
 
More here.
 
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Detail of the Battersea Shield. Iron Age, 350-50bce
©
The Trustees of the British Museum
 
This is the first major exhibition to examine the full history of Celtic art and identity, and is organised in partnership with National Museums Scotland. The story unfolds over 2,500 years, from the first recorded mention of ‘Celts’ to an exploration of contemporary Celtic influences. Discover how this identity has been revived and reinvented over the centuries, across Britain, Europe and beyond.
 
Organised with National Museums Scotland
 
Supported by –
In memory of Melvin R Seiden
Sheila Streek
Stephen and Julie Fitzgerald
Fund for the Future donors
 
CeltsArt and identity exhibition runs at the British Museum from 24 September 2015 – 31 January 2016. More here.
  
 
 
Unearthed in 1947 at Monkton Farleigh in Wiltshire England, this 4,400 year-old gold sun disc is one of only six ever found, and one of the earliest metal objects ever discovered in Britain
 
This rare and beautiful gold sun-disc (discovered 20 miles from Stonehenge) has gone on display to mark this year’s summer solstice. The early Bronze Age disc, thought to represent the sun, is on show for the first time at the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes, England.
 
More here.
 
On a separate note, The Heritage Trust is relocating from the south to the north of England. We hope to be up and running as normal by the beginning of July. Have a great summer wherever you are!
 
 
 
The Rillaton Gold Cup. Early Bronze Age (1,800-1,600bce)
On loan to the British Museum from the Royal Collections
Image: The Heritage Trust
 
Was Cornwall the site of a prehistoric gold rush? David Keys, Archaeology Correspondent for The Independent, reports –
 
New archaeological research is revealing that south-west Britain was the scene of a prehistoric gold rush. A detailed analysis of some of Western Europe’s most beautiful gold artefacts suggests that Cornwall was a miniature Klondyke in the Early Bronze Age. Geological estimates now indicate that up to 200 kilos of gold, worth in modern terms almost £5 million, was extracted in the Early Bronze Age from Cornwall and West Devon’s rivers – mainly between the 22nd and 17th centuries BC.
 
New archaeological and metallurgical research suggests that substantial amounts were exported to Ireland, with smaller quantities probably also going to France. It also suggests that the elites of Stonehenge almost certainly likewise obtained their gold from the south-west peninsula, as may the rulers of north-west Wales, who took to wearing capes made of solid gold.
 
Full article here.
    


Reconstructed Anglo-Saxon sword pommel from the Staffordshire Hoard
©
Birmingham Museums Trust

 

West Midlands History explores a mystery object from the Staffordshire Anglo-Saxon Hoard

After hours of research, this is an object which still baffles the team of Anglo Saxon experts in the project team. As far as they know no comparable piece has ever been found and it has no immediately obvious use.

This unique stone bracelet dates back 40,000 years and is thought to have been made by a member of the Denisovan species of early humans. Museum of History and Culture of the Peoples of Siberia and the Far East in Novosibirsk. Image credit Vera Salnitskaya

The stone bracelet above was unearthed in the Altai region of Siberia in 2008. After detailed analysis Russian experts now believe its remarkable age of 40,000bce is correct. What is even more extraordinary is that the bracelet was not made by a member of Homo sapiens or Neanderthals but another species of humans known as the Denisovans

It is intricately made with polished green stone and is thought to have adorned a very important woman or child on only special occasions. Yet this is no modern-day fashion accessory and is instead believed to be the oldest stone bracelet in the world, dating to as long ago as 40,000 years. Unearthed in the Altai region of Siberia in 2008, after detailed analysis Russian experts now accept its remarkable age as correct.

New pictures show this ancient piece of jewellery in its full glory with scientists concluding it was made by our prehistoric human ancestors, the Denisovans, and shows them to have been far more advanced than ever realised. ‘The bracelet is stunning – in bright sunlight it reflects the sun rays, at night by the fire it casts a deep shade of green,’ said Anatoly Derevyanko, Director of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography in Novosibirsk, part of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Full article by Anna Liesowska in The Siberian Times here.

   

 
 
One of two gold lock-rings worn as either ear-rings or to gather together hair
Image credit Amgueddfa Cymru (National Museum Wales)
 
A press release by Amgueddfa Cymru (National Museum Wales) reports –
 
A Late Bronze Age hoard of two gold artefacts, which are thought to be dated to around 1000-800 BC, or 3,000-2,800 years ago, have today (26th March 2015) been declared treasure by H.M. Coroner for North East Wales. The hoard of two gold penannular rings, which are personal ornaments known as lock-rings, were discovered in the Community of Rossett in June 2012 and March 2013 by Mr. John Adamson. The artefacts were found in the same area of a field while Mr. Adamson was metal detecting on farm land. The artefacts, once buried all together as a hoard group, had been disturbed and separated, probably through a recent drainage ditch clearing event. 
 
The discoveries were reported at different times to Vanessa Oakden and Elizabeth Stewart, Finds Liaison Officers for the Portable Antiquities Scheme, based at National Museums Liverpool, and were subsequently reported on by museum archaeologists at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales. The lock-rings are made of sheet gold. Their similar size (each approximately 3.5cm in diameter and 8-9g in weight) and decoration suggest they were once worn as a pair. Their circular faces have been expertly decorated with series of incised parallel and circular rings, providing an eye-catching decorative effect. They were once bi-conical in shape, but have since become crushed and distorted in the ground.
 
The lock-rings will be acquired by Wrexham County Borough Museum and Archives following their independent valuation.
 
Full Amgueddfa Cymru (National Museum Wales) press release here.
 
 
 
The eight eagle talon necklace (or bracelet) from Krapina, Croatia. The object is arranged with an eagle phalanx also found at the site
Image credit Luka Mjeda, Zagreb
 
Writing for Live Science, Megan Gannon, News Editor, reports on the extraordinary 130,000 year-old piece of Neanderthal jewellery first excavated more than 100 years ago at a Krapina sandstone rock-shelter in Croatia –
 
Researchers identified eight talons from white-tailed eagles — including four that had distinct notches and cut marks — from a 130,000-year-old Neanderthal cave in Croatia. They suspect the claws were once strung together as part of a necklace or bracelet.
 
“It really is absolutely stunning,” study author David Frayer, an anthropology professor at the University of Kansas, told Live Science. “It fits in with this general picture that’s emerging that Neanderthals were much more modern in their behavior.”
 
 Full article here.
 
 
 
The Earthouse at the Ancient Technology Centre in Dorset, England
 
 
…began over 25 years ago as a school project. Jake Keen, a teacher working at Cranborne Middle School, designed and led the building of an Iron Age roundhouse based on archaeological evidence. Uniquely, Jake’s ethos demanded the construction and material gathering to be undertaken by school children.
 
The harvesting of materials took place in local woodlands and reed beds and after 6 months, the children began work on building the structure.  A year of hard work saw the completion of the roundhouse and marked the beginning of the Ancient Technology Centre.
 
On Saturday, 14 March 2015 the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes will be organising an own car Outing to the Ancient Technology Centre and the Dorset Cursus. Details here.
   
 
 
A key figure in the revival of line engraving in the 1920s, Stanley Anderson RA (1884–1966) is best known for his series of prints memorialising England’s vanishing rural crafts. An Abiding Standard: The Prints of Stanley Anderson RA exhibition is open until 24 May 2015 in the Tennant Gallery, Burlington House, Royal Academy of Arts, London.
 
Details here.
    
 
A stunning Anglo-Saxon pendant still half buried in Norfolk mud
 
Trevor Heaton, writing for EDP24, reports on the stunning gold and garnet Anglo-Saxon pendant which has recently been uncovered in a Norfolk field –
 
Tom Lucking, a first-year UEA landscape archaeology student and keen member of the Suffolk Archaeological Field Group, was exploring the field – with the landowner’s permission – just before Christmas. His detector found a large and deep signal, and he dug down just far enough to reveal the top of a bronze bowl. Instead of carrying on he did exactly the right thing: carefully re-filling the hole and calling in the Field Group’s geophysics team to survey the site, and Norfolk County Council’s Heritage Environment Service to assess any finds.
 
The exquisite 7cm pendant is stunningly made with gold ‘cells’ and red garnet inlays. Some of the garnets have been cut to make animal ‘interlace’, a popular and highly-skilled design technique from the period where representations of creatures are stretched out and intricately interwoven. The bowl turned out to be at the foot of a grave with the badly-preserved bones of an adult Anglo-Saxon. As the excavation continued it was clear that this was a female because of the jewellery being discovered. It included a ‘chatelaine’, a long strip with probably silver rings which would have been hung from a girdle.
 
Read the full article here.
 
See also Anglo-Saxon Art by Leslie Webster. Available from the British Museum.
 
 
 
Round barrows at Fargo Woods, near Stonehenge
©
Moss
 
The Council for British Archaeology will be holding an event on Sunday, 19 April 2015 entitled The Stonehenge landscape, introduced by Phil Harding. Join them on the day with –
 
Time Team favourite Phil Harding and expert guide Pat Shelley for a unique exploration of the Stonehenge landscape at our exclusive Council for British Archaeology and English Heritage members’ event… The pair will be leading a walk through some of the often-overlooked enigmatic elements of the landscape, combining rich archaeological background with personal anecdotes and replica artefacts. The walk will take around an hour and a half, and highlights will include round barrows at nearby Fargo Woods and the Cursus barrow group, before visiting the Cursus itself. The culmination of the walk will see our group descending into Stonehenge Bottom before walking up the Avenue to Stonehenge.
 
Details here.
   

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