The Early Iron Age in the Hindon/Tisbury area: rare new evidence recovered by a local metal detector

The Early Iron Age in the Hindon/Tisbury area: rare new evidence recovered by a local metal detector image credit: © Portable Antiquities Scheme

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - 19:30

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A  talk by Dot Boughton, Finds Liaison Officer – Cumbria / Lancashire. Metalwork of the Early Iron Age (800-600BC) is generally very rare in the British Isles and when found it is difficult to identify and date. However, the new evidence from Wiltshire strongly supports evidence for feasting and community deposition that we have from elsewhere in Britain (Warwickshire and the Vale of Glamorgan). Between 2010-2012 four hoards of Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age date were discovered by a single metal detectorist in the Hindon and Tisbury areas of Wiltshire. They are composed of dozens of objects and casting residue and it is exciting to see earliest iron artefacts deposited alongside Late Bronze Age metalwork in the same context. This is a very rare case as prehistoric iron does not survive well in the ground. We only have two other hoards (Llyn Fawr, Vale of Glamorgan, and Melksham, Wiltshire) where iron occurs alongside bronze metalwork and it seems that, like the Vale of Glamorgan in South Wales, the wider Salisbury area of Wiltshire too was a centre for ritual feasting and deposition. The Vale of Glamorgan produced two large hoards as well as metalwork from the feasting and deposition site at Llanmaes and the metalwork is very similar to the four new hoards from the Tisbury and Hindon areas. This group of new hoards also include older finds like the deposit at Melksham and the well-known Salisbury Hoard as well as a hoard deposited not far away across the border in Hampshire: Danebury. These deposits are normally composed of socketed axes, vessel fragments, items of horse harness and, most importantly, metalwork that was already ancient at the time of deposition, such as flat axes, flanged axes, palstaves and rapier fragments dating from the Early and Middle Bronze Age.

This presentation will present the new hoard evidence, the current state of research and Treasure process as well as hint at answers as to what was going on in the Salisbury area 800-600BC. We will look at why artefacts that were already hundreds of years old at the time of deposition were deposited with contemporary metalwork as well as earliest iron artefacts.