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Massive hoard of Bronze Age axes from Dorset

One of the Bronze Age axes discovered in DorsetOne of the Bronze Age axes discovered in DorsetThe site of one of the largest hoards of Bronze Age axes ever found in Britain has been investigated by Wessex Archaeology.

At a site on the Isle of Purbeck in south Dorset, metal detector users found hundreds of Bronze Age axes in late October and early November 2007.

The axes, though not made of gold or silver, seem certain to qualify as Treasure when the Dorset Coroner holds an inquest into their discovery. Revisions to the original Treasure law mean that prehistoric objects of bronze can be classed as treasure, opening the way to a reward for the metal detector users and the landowner.

The metal detector users could hardly believe their luck when the discovery of one complete bronze axe and a fragment of another led them to identify three hot spots close by. The hotspots proved to be hoards of axes. Having reported the finds to the government funded Portable Antiquities Scheme, the detectors returned the following weekend. And promptly found another hoard containing hundreds of axes. In total at least 300 axes were found.

Following a request from the British Museum, who will give expert opinion to the county Coroner as to whether finds should be defined as Treasure, and the Portable Antiquities Scheme, a team from Wessex Archaeology undertook a follow up excavation.

Find out more on the Bronze Age Axes project website.

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