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Havering Hoard: Rare objects discovered in Rainham reveal fascinating insights into Bronze Age London

PUBLISHED: 12:00 11 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:13 11 February 2020

Curator Kate Sumnall unveils rare objects discovered in the Havering Hoard. Picture: David Parry/PA Wire

Curator Kate Sumnall unveils rare objects discovered in the Havering Hoard. Picture: David Parry/PA Wire

David Parry

A pair of terret rings which are the first of their kind to ever be found in the UK are among a collection of rare objects discovered in Rainham and about to go on display in east London.

The Museum of London Docklands has revealed a closer look at a collection of objects discovered at a gravel extraction site in Rainham ahead of its upcoming major exhibition, Havering Hoard: A Bronze Age Mystery.

The discovery of terret rings, a bracelet believed to be from the modern day French-German border and copper ingots possibly originating from the Alps, suggests a well-connected community of travellers and traders across Europe.

Terret rings are believed to have been used to prevent the reins from tangling on horse-drawn carts.

Kate Sumnall, curator of archaeology at the Museum of London, said: "The Havering Hoard contains a wealth of artefacts that are invaluable in deepening our understanding of the people who lived in Bronze Age London.

Axe heads discovered in the Havering Hoard ahead of the upcoming major exhibition. Picture: David Parry/PA WireAxe heads discovered in the Havering Hoard ahead of the upcoming major exhibition. Picture: David Parry/PA Wire

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"These objects give clues about how this wasn't an isolated community but rather one that fitted into a much larger cultural group with connections along the Thames Valley and across the continent.

"The site in Havering is particularly important due to its proximity to the marshes and the Thames, allowing people to travel widely using wooden boats to exchange materials and goods."

Buried in separate parts, the largest Bronze Age hoard ever discovered poses questions as to why they were collected and buried in such a meticulous manner while providing historians with fascinating clues about beliefs, values and the nature of a complex society.

Curator Kate Sumnall unveils Axe heads and other rare objects discovered in the Havering Hoard. Picture: David Parry/PA WireCurator Kate Sumnall unveils Axe heads and other rare objects discovered in the Havering Hoard. Picture: David Parry/PA Wire

East London's assistant coroner Ian Wade officially declared the find, known as the Havering Hoard, treasure at an inquest in July last year.

A total of 453 bronze age objects dating between c.900 and c.800 were uncovered by archaeologists from Archaeological Solutions as part of a planned archaeological excavation at a building site in an area in Rainham.

Andrew Peachey, specialist in prehistoric and Roman pottery at Archaeological Solutions, added: "This excavation, in a well-defined prehistoric settlement, has given us an unparalleled opportunity to consider the actions of individuals and communities and how they viewed, treated and disposed of a valuable commodity."

Havering Hoard: A Bronze Age Mystery will be showing at the Museum of London Docklands in Hertsmere Road, West India Quay from Friday, April 3 to Sunday, November 1.

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