Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery is hoping to acquire three Bronze Age tools that were recently declared as treasure, after being discovered by metal detectorists in Baschurch.
The hoard was found by three individuals who were undertaking responsible metal detecting during the covid pandemic and are thought to have been deposited between 950-750 BC.
Each item is made of copper alloy (bronze) and each is in remarkable condition for its age. The items were reported through the Portable Antiquities Scheme to Heather Beeton based at the National Museums of Liverpool.
The hoard consists of two axes, one relatively common in the Northern Marches with a similar axe being found at the excavations at the Breidden Hillfort. A larger elegant and slender axe is reported to be highly unusual with few examples known. Its size and shape suggest that it was a specialised tool / woodworking carpentry axe.
The final element is a bronze gouge – that seems to have been deliberately broken into two parts prior to deposition with the finder noting that they were recovered placed side by side rather than connecting.
Mr John Ellery, HM Senior Coroner for Shropshire, Telford and the Wrekin, held a treasure inquest last Tuesday investigating the circumstances of the find.
The find will now be valued by the DCMS treasure valuation committee after being declared as a treasue. Once a market value is set Shropshire Museums’ will fundraise so that the three items can be saved for the people of the county for all to enjoy. The monies raised will then be given to the finders and landowners as a reward.
Peter Reavill, Finds Liaison Officer: Shropshire and Herefordshire, said:
“Small groups of metalwork such as these are hugely important to our understanding of prehistoric Shropshire. In general, they are far more common in the north of the county where they are associated often with deliberate deposition in or around wetlands, streams and the meres. Such small group of tools as these may seem insignificant to some but they represent a store of wealth as well as essential tools.
“They would have been used for specific tasks such as making dugout canoes and planked log boats, as well as building houses and creating household furniture. As such they shouldn’t be considered as casual losses but deliberate gifts to the land, placed in areas of danger or risk for reasons we may not ever really understand. We do know that by breaking them and placing them out of use within the ground our farming predecessors were following long held traditions important to their way of life.”
Emma-Kate Lanyon, Curator, Shropshire Museums, said:
“The discovery of this hoard comes at an exciting time when we are working on a new Bronze Age exhibition for Shrewsbury Museum: “Gathering Light”. This will explore the discovery of the Shropshire Sun Pendant and the North Shropshire Bronze Age Hoards. These finds are revealing a fascinating story about the significance of the North Shropshire wetlands during this period of Prehistory.”
Councillor Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for communities, place, tourism and transport, added:
“Finds such as these offer us all a fascinating insight into our county’s past, and the people who lived and worked on the land. We’re looking forward to being able to display them in our Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery for all to see and enjoy.”