The largest ever Bronze Age hoard to be discovered in London, and the third largest of its kind in the UK, has been unearthed in Havering.

A Bronze Age axe head surrounded by a selection of objects from the Havering Hoard (c) Museum of London

A total of 453 bronze objects dating between c.900 and c.800 BC have been uncovered during a planned archaeological investigation, with weapons and tools including axe heads, spearheads, fragments of swords, daggers and knives found alongside some other unusual objects, which are rarely found in the UK.

Excavation of the Havering Hoard (c) Archaeological Solutions Ltd

Almost all the weapons appear to be partially broken or damaged, raising questions as to why these objects ended up being carefully buried in groups close together. The deliberate placement of these items may suggest a specialist metal worker operated in this area, and this large scale deposit of bronze may represent an accumulation of material akin to a vault, recycling bank or exchange.

Roy Stephenson, London’s Historic Environment Lead at the Museum of London, said: “It’s incredibly rare to have uncovered a hoard of this size on one site. 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?”

Meanwhile, conservation and analysis of the artefacts is currently underway which will reveal more insights into this incredible find. This hugely significant find will go on display as the focal point of an exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands in April 2020.

Havering Hoard site discovery (c) Archaeological Solutions Ltd


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  1. Sykobee says:

    I guess back in the bronze age days, metal (bronze) was incredibly rare and expensive still. If you were a metal worker back then, I guess you wouldn’t stick your scrap reclaimed metal on the shelf in your workshop/house/hut. You’d put it somewhere safe until you had reworked it, likely on-demand for payment. You likely paid for it as well from the person who had a duff axe head. Indeed, as metal like this was so valuable, this could be a form of buried savings vault.

    Note extensive use of ‘guess’ above.

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