Salisbury Museum to bid for Bronze Age hoard coveted by British Museum

By Ben Miller | 11 February 2014

Salisbury Museum will begin fundraising for the Wylye Hoard once the Treasure Valuation Committee has decided its value

A photo of a piece of Bronze Age jewellery
This Bronze Age torc is part of the Wylye Hoard© Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum
Curators in Wiltshire are waiting to discover the value of a mysterious Middle Bronze Age hoard of 41 “startingly beautiful” copper alloy jewellery pieces, found by metal detectorists at the end of 2012 and declared treasure for its selection of bracelets and torcs from as long as 1,400 years ago.

A photo of a piece of Bronze Age jewellery
© Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum
Archaeologists have been unable to determine the deposition and structure of the hoard, which includes an “extraordinary” quoit headed pin, after the detectorists moved it from its original spot in the Wylye Valley near Warminster. Experts from Salisbury Museum will hope to find out more if their bid to display the discoveries in their new Wessex Gallery of Archaeology space succeeds.

“The British Museum are interested because it’s a hoard of really rare and beautiful pieces,” said Adrian Green, the director of the museum, who will open the gallery this spring.

“It’s appropriate for the Wylye Hoard to be housed at Salisbury Museum because it was found nearby.”

Dr Andrew Lawson, a Bronze Age specialist who helped officials from the Portable Antiquities Scheme to catalogue the artefacts, said it was “the nicest example” of an ornament horizon hoard – the term given to jewellery rather than tools – he had seen.

A photo of a piece of Bronze Age jewellery
© Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum
The skill of Bronze Age craftsmen is also highlighted by the works. “The hoard is outstanding, and in beautiful condition,” said Richard Henry, the Finds Liaison Officer for Wiltshire.

“Not only is it a very significant addition to this type of hoard, it’s also one of the largest with a wide variety of ornaments.”                                                       

The Treasure Valuation Committee is currently deciding its market value.

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