Sunday, March 9, 2014

Top British Treasures I

The Rillaton gold cup - Construction workers in 1837 plundered a burial cairn for stone on part of Bodmin Moor, at Rillaton. It contained the decayed remains of a human skeleton accompanied by this gold cup, a bronze dagger and other objects that have not survived.

The main body of the cup was beaten out of a single lump of gold of high purity. The corrugated profile would have required great skill to achieve.
The Mold gold cape - Quarry workers looking for stone in an ancient burial mound in 1833 found this stunning gold object. The mound lay in a field named Bryn yr Ellyllon (the Fairies' or Goblins' Hill).

At the centre was a stone-lined grave with the crushed gold cape around the fragmentary remains of a skeleton. Strips of bronze and quantities of amber beads were also recovered.
The Snettisham Hoard - At least eleven hoards of torcs, ingots and coins have been found at Snettisham since 1948.

Most of the hoards were buried about 70 BC, and the entire collection is the largest deposit of gold and silver from Iron Age Europe, weighing in at around 20 kg of silver and 15 kg of gold.
The Hoxne hoard - (pronounced 'Hoxon') consists of over 15,000 gold and silver coins, gold jewellery and numerous small items of silver tableware, including pepper pots, ladles and spoons.

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The Sutton Hoo hoard - In 1938, archaeologist Basil Brown investigated burial mounds. In the spring and summer of 1939 he excavated the largest mound.

Buried deep beneath lay the ghost of a thirty-metre long oak ship. At its centre was a ruined burial chamber the size of a small room. In it lay weapons, armour, gold coins, gold and garnet fittings, silver vessels and silver-mounted drinking horns and cups, and clothes, piled in heaps, ranging from fine linen overshirts to shaggy woollen cloaks and caps trimmed with fur.

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