Where water wells up from the earth: excavations at the findspot of the Late Bronze Age Broadward hoard, Shropshire



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Chronology and field survey

Two tasks were important from the outset: to establish the precise age of the metalwork and to elucidate the positions of nineteenth century drains on the site.

Two spearheads from the hoard held by the British Museum retained fragments of ash hafts within their sockets. Samples of the wood were submitted to SUERC for radiocarbon dating. They returned the following dates:
2740 ± 30 BP; 980–830 BC cal BC at 94.5 % confidence level (GU26038)

Almost complete barbed spearhead (fig 3), acc. no. 1902, 0515,130


2760 ± 30 BP ; 940–820 BC cal BC at 94.5 % confidence level (GU26039)

Fragmentary spearhead socket of the same type, acc. no. 1902, 0519, 931


These dates are consistent with the scheme put forward by Burgess, Coombs and Davies in 1972 and with subsequent research by Needham et al.32 They would place the hoard towards the end of the Late Bronze Age.

The most likely findspot for the hoard was examined by David Thornley and Darko Maricevic using ground-penetrating radar. They plotted the positions of the drains cut into the surface of the bog. Their work was supplemented by a topographic survey undertaken by Jo Dyson and undergraduate students of the University of Worcester, using a global positioning system (fig 4). Both investigations suggested that the most likely position for the hoard was on low-lying ground and agrees with the position recorded by the Ordnance Survey. Several palaeochannels join this area from the north and may have led from other springs that were replaced by wells during the nineteenth century. Similar channels extend further to the east and would originally have discharged into a tributary of the Clun. The river itself is 600m east of the site.






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