‘Rare’ Bronze Age hoard unearthed at Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex

The pot in situArchaeologists have unearthed Bronze Age hoard containing 3000-year-old axe heads, spear tips and other metal objects in a field in the Burnham-on-Crouch area, Essex.

The objects foundat the fieldinclude an pottery container with heavy metal contents unearthed undisturbed.

The first finds at the location were all metal work and reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme in September.

At the same field, metal detectorists later discovered an in situ pottery vessel.

They covered up the pot, and reported this find tothe PAS as well.

A dig was planned, and early October,archaeologists from PAS joined the landowner and four metal detectorists to excavate the known area of the hoard.

The pottery container was found to have suffered some plough damage.

One side of the vessel was missing, the other side was fractured.

It is rare to find an Bronze Age hoard in situ, especially one that involves pottery, so the archaeologists decided to ‘block lift’ the fragile, fractured pot, which was only held intact by the mud on both sides.

So, out came the cling film to hold the pot together whilst we dug around it and undermined it so that it could be lifted. This was a rather slow and painstaking process, making sure the vessel was supported whilst digging around it, Laura McLean writes on the PAS blog.

Eventually the vessel was ready to be lifted, and for rather a small pot it was blooming heavy with all the metalwork inside!

The 3,000-year-old container will be x-rayed at the lab, to give the archaeologists a clearer understanding of the order in which the objects were deposited in the vessel.

The team also unearthed intentionally broken axe heads, spear tips and other metal objects.

The hoard is currently kept at the Colchester & Ipswich Museums, where it is further examined.