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Havering Hoard: Rare objects discovered in Rainham finally set to go on display from September 11

PUBLISHED: 16:00 27 August 2020 | UPDATED: 10:28 28 August 2020

Curator Kate Sumnall with rare objects in the Havering Hoard at the Museum of London Docklands, first Bronze Age examples of their kind ever found in Britain. Picture: David Parry/PA Wire

Curator Kate Sumnall with rare objects in the Havering Hoard at the Museum of London Docklands, first Bronze Age examples of their kind ever found in Britain. Picture: David Parry/PA Wire

David Parry

A collection of rare objects discovered in Rainham is finally set to go on display.

Bronze Age axe heads in the Havering Hoard at Museum of London Docklands. Picture: David Parry/PA WireBronze Age axe heads in the Havering Hoard at Museum of London Docklands. Picture: David Parry/PA Wire

After long delays due to coronavirus, members of the public will be able to see the Havering Hoard at the Museum of London Docklands from Friday, September 11.

A pair of terret rings — the first of their kind to be found in the UK — were among the 453 Late Bronze Age items unearthed at a Rainham gravel extraction site in September 2018.

Copper ingots, smelting remnants, spear heads, axe heads and swords were also found, with the near 3,000-year-old artefacts subject to a treasure inquest in July 2019.

That inquest — which formally declared the treasure — enabled the Museum of London to declare its interest in the Havering Hoard.

A bracelet discovered in the Havering Hoard ahead of the upcoming major exhibition, Havering Hoard: A Bronze Age Mystery, at the Museum of London Docklands. Picture: David Parry/PA WireA bracelet discovered in the Havering Hoard ahead of the upcoming major exhibition, Havering Hoard: A Bronze Age Mystery, at the Museum of London Docklands. Picture: David Parry/PA Wire

The museum’s curator of archaeology Kate Sumnall describes it as “a hugely significant archaeological find”.

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“The Havering Hoard contains a wealth of artefacts that are invaluable in deepening our understanding of the people who lived in Bronze Age London.

“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.

Curator Kate Sumnall unveils Bronze Age terret ring at Museum of London Docklands, believed to be used to prevent reins from tangling on horse-drawn carts 3-4,000 years ago. Picture: David Parry/PA WireCurator Kate Sumnall unveils Bronze Age terret ring at Museum of London Docklands, believed to be used to prevent reins from tangling on horse-drawn carts 3-4,000 years ago. Picture: David Parry/PA Wire

“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.”

This discovery is not the first of its kind in the Rainham and South Hornchurch area; a large number of Bronze Age artefacts, dated to between 1,000 and 800BC, were discovered in the 1990s.

The objects in the Havering Hoarding — dated to between c.900 and c.800 — were uncovered as part of a planned excavation by employees of Archaeological Solutions.

Andrew Peachey, the company’s specialist in prehistoric and Roman pottery, adds: “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.”

The public are set to have months to gain a unique insight into this historical period, with the exhibition to run until April 18 2021.


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