Metal detectorist uncovers a hoard of rare Bronze Age ornaments in Portchester

A collection of rare Bronze Age ornaments uncovered near a new housing development in Portchester has been donated to a Hampshire charity.

By Richard Lemmer
Friday, 10th April 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 10th April 2020, 10:18 am
The artifacts are believed to be more than 3,000 years old.

A lucky metal detectorist, who has not been named, discovered a rare type of clothing pin, a pair of arm rings, and part of an axe, as well as knife and spear fragments, on land north of Cranleigh Road, Portchester before the coronavirus lockdown.

Under the Treasure Act, the items had to be assessed for their cultural significance, with the British Museum declaring that they date back to the Middle Bronze Age – more than 3,000 years ago.

The discovery was made on land owned by Persimmon Homes, as part of their 120-home Harbourside View development, but the developer waived its right to an ex-gratia financial reward, usually given when historic artefacts are found on private land.

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The artifacts were discovered on land north of the Harbourside View development in Cranleigh Road, Portchester.

Now the items have been handed to Hampshire Cultural Trust, which plans to exhibit them this year.

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Matt Paine, managing director of Persimmon Homes South Coast, said: ‘We were delighted to be able to support Hampshire Cultural Trust in this way to help ensure that these important artefacts remain in the county.’

The trust cares for more than 2.5 million objects representing Hampshire’s history, but the pin is the first one of its type to enter the trust’s collection, according to Ross Turle, curatorial liaison manager.

He said: ‘The find is fascinating and we were particularly interested in the quoit pin. The bend in the end of the pin is believed to be damage from repeated use, possibly from being pushed through the fabric of a cloak.

‘It seems to be an object particular to the southern part of England and may be an artefact purely of native origin.

‘There have not been that many found, perhaps 60 to 80, and the acquisition is important because the Hampshire collection does not have any, while the Winchester collection only has one fragment.

‘The axe, which we aim to display in the future, is of Norman type and complements the trust’s existing Bronze Age collection.’

‘This find gives a rare insight into prehistoric adornment and technology. We are delighted that we have been able to obtain it and are grateful to Persimmon Homes South Coast for waiving its ex-gratia reward.’

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