Archaeology from Bronze Age Stonehenge country helps experts building huge record of prehistoric objects

By Culture24 Reporter | 19 January 2015

Daggers, pins and more from Bronze Age Wiltshire to be recreated in project based on centuries of archaeology

Click on the picture to launch the gallery

Archaeologists working on the Micropasts public archaeology project hope to use a set of drawings and notes relating to artefacts from Wiltshire to create 3D models of some of the finest Bronze Age objects ever found in Britain.

Jennifer Wexler, of the British Museum, where the Bronze Age Index set of cards is held, has examined more than 100 casual finds, lost items and objects from some of the famous barrow cemeteries on Salisbury Plain among the collection, providing detailed descriptions of antiquarian metalwork finds from the past two centuries.

A photo of a diagram of an ancient pin and black writing on a piece of light green paper
One of the pins drawn out by the Index cards © CC-BY British Museum© Wiltshire Museum
“In the process of digitising the index we have come across a small collection of cards recording artefacts in the Wiltshire Museum,” she says.

“These cards illustrate bronze objects found largely during 18th and 19th century antiquarian investigations of various barrow groups in the regions surrounding the monumental landscapes of Stonehenge and Avebury.

“These include some of the famous barrow cemeteries found in Salisbury Plain, such as the Lake Down Group, Normanton Group bush barrow and Amesbury Curses.”

Researchers hope to recreate a rare crutch-headed bronze pin from the little-known Durrington site of Silk Hill, found with a skeleton and dated to between 2020 and 1770 BC.

“We’ve got some of the best Bronze Age artefacts in the country here at Devizes, but Micropasts is interesting because it will benefit wider scholarship on the subject and people will be able to do some amazing things with the data,” predicts David Dawson, of the Wiltshire Museum.

“We are really looking forward to working with the project in the future to create some 3-D models of the objects. They have already done some work in this area, which I think is very exciting.”

The collection from the area is already digitised at the museum.

“We are planning to connect to new research and developments in British archaeology as we continue to expand our research into the Index,” says Wexler.

“This information will eventually be integrated into the Portable Antiquities Scheme database, making it one of the largest records of prehistoric objects in the UK and the world.”

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