Early Bronze Age gold bead fragment from Much Wenlock declared treasure
News from the finds liaison officer for Shropshire
Mr Ellery, HM Coroner for Shropshire, held a treasure inquest today into a recently discovered fragment of gold bead dating from the Early Bronze Age. The fragment was reported through the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme having been found while searching with a metal-detector on cultivated land near Much Wenlock last year (September 2016).
The bead was reported to Vanessa Oakden (finds liaison officer for Cheshire) who wrote the treasure report for the coroner. In it she describes the bead as being:
A small rectangular strip of folded gold with one decorated surface. One edge of the strip is complete having been cut regularly with a slightly thickened rim. The other side has been torn resulting in a sharp undulating edge. The decoration consists of eight fine, straight ridges and grooves. It measures length 17mm, width 14mm, weight 2.1g.
Peter Reavill, finds liaison officer for Shropshire, said:
“The gold fragment is relatively small but it is one of the most important Bronze Age finds discovered in Shropshire. It is around 4,000 years old being made at the very beginning of the Bronze Age when gold was incredibly scarce and important. Archaeologists call this period the Chalcolithic and it is when people first started to work with gold, copper and tin. The original owner would have been a very important person within the community and the find may have been passed down before being deposited. All we have is this tiny fragment and it is possible that it may have been lost after being damaged. It is much more likely that it was deliberately buried as a grave good in a ‘Beaker Burial’ under a round mound. The mound has subsequently been ploughed out by centuries of cultivation and all that remains of the grave is this small gift.”
Shropshire Museums has expressed an interest in acquiring the find for the people of Shropshire – with the hope that it will be displayed in the Much Wenlock Museum.
Now the find has been declared treasure it will be valued by the Government’s Treasure Valuation Committee and the museum will be given a period of grace to raise the relevant funds. These monies will be paid to both the finder and landowner as a reward under the Treasure Act (1996).
More information and images of the bead (used with permission of British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme) can be found here:
More information about PAS and Treasure can be found here:
More Information on Much Wenlock Museum can be seen here:
For more information, please contact:
Peter Reavill – Finds Liaison Officer (Shropshire and Herefordshire)
Tel: 01584 813 641
Twitter: PAS in the Marches @PeterReavill