As seen on TV

Imagine you are metal detecting a field, you hear a bleep, scratch around in the dirt and see a glimmer of gold.  Now imagine that you are 10 years old, and you have just found treasure.  

That is what happened to Patrick Hooper who found this strip of bronze age gold in the parish of Tangley, northern Hampshire.  Patrick and his find featured in the Channel 4 series, Great British History Hunters.

What makes this piece of bronze age gold important is its completeness.  Often these strips are found with only one terminal, but this one has both a pierced hole at one end and a hook at the other. The strip is believed to have been used as a piece of jewellery and, as the hole and hook suggest, would have been worn in a loop.

The decoration on this strip is similar to examples from the mid-to-later Bronze Age but the shape of it has parallels from the early Bronze Age so this example could be around 4600 - 3600 years old.

Hampshire Cultural Trust was able to acquire the gold strip as it was reported to the Hampshire Finds Liaison Officer and declared treasure because of its precious metal content and age.

We are lucky to have other items from the same period in the collections, many acquired through the Portable Antiquities Scheme, that help give us an idea of the level of craftsmanship at the time.  A combination of objects that range from jewellery to weapons to burial urns give us an insight into life in Bronze Age Britain.

Penannular ring found in the parish of Preston Candover, these are sometimes pure gold but often copper alloy gilded in gold.
Another variation of penannular ring fond near Alresford and decorated with a repeated colour strip.
Middle Bronze Age gold bead found in the parish of Overton, perhaps originally part of a necklace.
Copper-alloy cast socketed spear head (the socket would have held the wooden shaft) found in the parish of Monxton.
A hoard consisting of arm bands, axe head, pin for fastening clothes, fragment of metal blade and sherd of pottery found in the parish of Portchester. 
This burial urn is known as Deverel-Rimbury type and was found after a site in Dorset was excavated from an urn-field burial site in Christchurch, it would have contained a cremation.

To find out more about archaeological finds in Hampshire and the Portable Antiquities Scheme, please visit the link below.

Archaeological finds | Hampshire Cultural Trust Online Collections
Portable Antiquities Scheme The Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) records man-made finds over 300 years old that have been discovered by members of the public, and its network of Finds Liaison Officers would love to hear from you if you think you have found something!

This article was written by:
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Ross Turle

I am the Curatorial Liaison Manager for Hampshire Cultural Trust. I help with the care of the collections held and enable access to the collections so as they can researched and exhibited.
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