University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Where Water Wells Up From the Earth: Excavations at the Findspot of the Late Bronze Age Broadward Hoard, Shropshire

Bradley, R., Lewis, Jodie ORCID:, Mullin, David and Branch, N. (2015) Where Water Wells Up From the Earth: Excavations at the Findspot of the Late Bronze Age Broadward Hoard, Shropshire. The Antiquaries Jounral, 95. pp. 21-64. ISSN Print: 0003-5815 Online: 1758-5309

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The paper begins by considering the importance of springs as a focus for votive deposits in Bronze Age Britain. This is not a new idea, but nowhere has this association been examined by excavation of one of these features. There are important lesson to be learned from such work in Scandinavia. The point is illustrated by excavation at the findspot of a famous group of Late Bronze Age weapons, the Broadward hoard, discovered in 1867. Little was known about the site where it was found or the character of the original deposit, but a study of contemporary accounts of the hoard, combined with geophysical and topographical surveys, led to small-scale excavation which showed that the deposit had most probably been buried in a pit on the edge of a spring. Other finds associated with the spring included an Early Bronze Age macehead, a Roman pot, and a variety of animal bones dating from the Saxon and medieval periods. The latest, which has a radiocarbon date in the post-medieval phase, included a wooden knife or dagger. An adjacent palaeochannel provided an important environmental sequence for this part of the English–Welsh borderland and suggests that the Late Bronze Age hoard had been deposited not far from a settlement. A nearby earthwork enclosure was associated with a clay weight which may be of similar date. Despite the limited scale of the fieldwork undertaken in 2010, it illustrates the potential of treating springs associated with finds of artefacts on the same terms as other archaeological deposits.

Item Type: Article
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: springs, Broadwood Hoard, Bronze Age Britain, votive deposits
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Science and the Environment
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Depositing User: Jodie Lewis
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2015 14:04
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:08

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