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Archaeology & History

Mystery surrounds London's 'Havering Hoard'

By T.K. Randall
October 21, 2019 · Comment icon 8 comments

A Bronze Age dwelling. Image Credit: Viv Hamilton
An 'extraordinary' cache of Bronze Age weapons found in London has left experts scratching their heads.
Unearthed in the British capital back in September of last year, the stash of 450 objects, which dates back to between 900 and 800 BC, was found during an archaeological investigation in Havering.

Consisting of axe heads, spearheads, daggers, knives and sword fragments, the so-called "Havering hoard" is the largest discovery of its kind in London and the third-largest in the UK.

What makes the find particularly notable however is the fact that the weapons are all broken and that someone had taken the time to bury them all in small groups around the site.

Exactly why this was done continues to remain a mystery.
"It's incredibly rare to have uncovered a hoard of this size on one site," said Roy Stephenson from the Museum of London Docklands. "This discovery is of huge importance and raises questions as to why this treasure was buried in this way and why it was never recovered ?"

Some experts have suggested that a metal worker may have been operating in the area and that the broken weapons had been in the process of being repaired or refurbished.

Others meanwhile speculate that the weapons had been intended as a religious offering or may have even been dumped at the site after the rise of iron weapons caused their value to plummet.

As things stand, we may never know for sure.

Source: Independent | Comments (8)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by hetrodoxly 4 years ago
My bet would be on votive offerings.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Jon the frog 4 years ago
Socket axes are so strange looking... but it cut the cost in materials probably ?
Comment icon #3 Posted by jaylemurph 4 years ago
I’m impressed a newspaper journalist put forth an economic possibility for the weapons’ abandonment— it strikes me as the most likely explanation.    —Jaylemurph 
Comment icon #4 Posted by Blizno 4 years ago
I doubt that people would throw away bronze. They used it for many things other than just weapons. I'd expect it to be cached and then melted down and reformed, as needed.
Comment icon #5 Posted by hetrodoxly 4 years ago
That was my first thought but like Blizno said so many other items were made of bronze, another point is the transitional period i bet it was decades.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Eldorado 4 years ago
Update: French bracelet among surprises in mysterious Havering hoard At the UK Guardian: Nice pics at the History Blog:
Comment icon #7 Posted by hetrodoxly 4 years ago
Terret rings are a common find for detectorists i've found loads, a French bracelet isn't mysterious there was a lot of trade with France, some tribes lived on both sides of that small stretch of water.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Eldorado 4 years ago
Bronze hoard goes on show at Docklands Nice pics at the London Advertiser: Link Dating from between 900BC and 800BC, the “amazing discovery” goes on show at the Museum Of London Docklands, from Friday Belfast Telegraph: Link Museum of London: Link Wikipedia: Link

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