Skip to comments.Treasure Hunters Find Bronze Age Axes
Posted on 01/21/2008 6:45:50 PM PST by blam
Treasure hunters find Bronze Age axes
Last Updated: 2:06am GMT 22/01/2008
An amateur treasure hunter has unearthed a hoard of bronze age axe heads thought to be worth about £80,000.
Tom Peirce started combing a field with his metal detector after dropping off a school coach party at a farm.
Within a few minutes it began beeping and he found the first axe head fragment 10in into the soil.
When he dug deeper, Mr Peirce found dozens more and, over the following two days, he and a colleague, Les Keith, uncovered nearly 500 bronze artefacts dating back 3,000 years.
The find prompted a Time Team-style search of the area at the farm near Swanage, Dorset, by archaeologists.
The hoard, which included 268 complete axe heads, is one of the biggest of its kind in Britain.
Mr Peirce, of Ringwood, Hants, said: "We are extremely thrilled because this was a once-in-a-lifetime find. It's like winning the lottery - you don't think it is going to happen to you. You do it as a hobby, you don't do it for the money but if you strike it lucky, so be it."
It is believed the axe heads were manufactured at a nearby Bronze Age settlement.
Archaeologists think the hoard may have been buried as an offering to the gods.
Mr Peirce, 60, will have to split any proceeds with the landowner, Alfie O'Connell.
Mr O'Connell, 62, who has owned the farm for four years, said: "Within about half an hour of Tom searching, he came rushing over to me looking shocked. During the war a plane crashed in the same field and for a minute I thought he'd found a bomb.
"We went back up there on my tractor and saw the axe heads. I didn't have a clue what they were, I thought it was scrap metal at first."
The axe heads are 4in long and 2in wide and are being assessed by the British Museum, which may buy them.
The coroner for Bournemouth, Poole and East Dorset has been informed of the find and will hold an inquest at which it is expected they will be declared treasure.
At that point, landowner and finder receive a reward to the sum of the market value.
Dr Andrew Fitzpatrick, of Wessex Archaeology, said: "It is one of the largest and important finds of its kind because of the size of it and the condition they were in."
Nah. They were hidden anticipating and attack?
I got a metal detector for Christmas, but so far all I've got with it is two shotgun shells and some poison ivy! ;P
The British metric bobbies are gonna lock these guys up pronto..
I have a bachelor's degree in Anthropology and if you ask me they were stolen and somebody wanted to hide the loot.
Guess I should have pursued a graduate degree -- that way I would have known to apply the traditional "for religious purposes" analysis.
Yup, you’re right. An anti-2d Amndt leader was on the slate.
It would not surprise me if these 2 guys get charged with possession of assault weapons.
Good post though.
Someone tell Helen Thomas her lost razor blades have been found.
I think this story may have a few mother-in-law jokes in it too...
Someone tell Helen Thomas...
...that explains it!
Dang you , I almost spit tobacco juice on the keyboard.
“I got a metal detector for Christmas, but so far all I’ve got with it is two shotgun shells and some poison ivy! “
My kid got one years ago and all we’ve ever used it for is to find dropped bolts/nails or arrows that missed the target and went into the ground.
Definitely buried to keep assets away from the foundry owner's wife during a nasty divorce.
Heh, well I’m taking it down to Naples FL with me next month, so hopefully I’ll have better luck on the beaches there!
Your response beat mine and is right on the mark. Of course archaeologists and anthropologists usually want to minimize the warlikeness of primitive folk; they think modern conservatives are the first to hold that distinction. However, war was seldom absent in those days. The obvious here is that axes, while tools, can be used as weapons. The burying of a mass of them can be nothing except an attempt to deny them to an enemy that is about to overrun the tribe.
Or hidden in anticipation of a Bronze Age ban on Assault Weapons. Prudent people even today consider 40 acres and a shovel when faced with similar attitudes by government.
Metal-detecting chums Leslie Keith, Bryan Thomas and Tom Peirce have uncovered Britain's biggest ever find of 500 Bronze age axe heads that are baffling the experts
A sample of the axe heads discovered by Tom Peirce
Digging it: Wessex Archaeology are excavating a windswept site on the Dorset coast near Swanage where the Bronze Age axe heads were found
Blam, you are the man ! Great pictures. How interesting.
Thanks Blam.268 complete axe headsMust have been a dealership.
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