A Life In Fragments

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Fragments of the PAS: Somerset

And so I reach the final of my four counties: Somerset. Again, it is a diverse environment, some parts flooding heavily, contrasted by upland areas which served as centres for barrow cemeteries and monuments, as well as embanked settlements that acted as precursors for hillforts. Inevitably the character of metalwork recovered through the PAS differs from the previous counties presented: there’s less gold than Dorset, fewer ingots than Devon, more spearheads than Cornwall. (more…)

The Broken Hoards of Late Bronze Age Cornwall

Cornwall has a lot of Late Bronze Age hoards.

I know this because I am currently trying to see them all. Fortunately, the majority are held in the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro, which I can see from my living room window, making my life a lot easier! These hoards hold particular significance, however, as they follow the typical Late Bronze Age pattern of having been smashed to pieces. (more…)

Bronze Age Metalwork at Wells and Mendip Museum

 

Believe it or not, two years into my research, I still haven’t finished my data collection. The spread of objects across the South West has proven far more troublesome than even I anticipated. Nonetheless, I persevere and my latest venture took me to the beautiful tiny city of Wells. (more…)

Breaking apart Bronze Age swords: Smashing good fun!

Last Thursday, I took an impromptu trip to Butser Ancient Farm to assist Neil Burridge with some sword casting he was doing as part of a filming project with 360 Production (the guys who make Digging for Britain!) Needless to say, the casting went well, Neil produced an expertly delivered spiel on bronze sword casting, and everyone was very happy. It was after the camera crew had done their thing that we turned to the main event of my day – that is, breaking the sword into fragments. (more…)

A Late Bronze Age hoard from Long Bredy, Dorset

In 2009, a Late Bronze Age hoard was found while metal-detecting in a field in Long Bredy, which was promptly reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme (Treasure No. 2009 T649). This hoard consists of a three deliberately broken sword fragments, a late pegged spearhead, a socketed gouge and a bifid razor and dates to the Ewart Park phase (c.1000-800 BC). It is currently held at Dorchester County Museum and I recently had the chance to study it and gain an insight into a hoard that is quite unusual for the area. (more…)

Starting My Experiments – Swording Things Out

This week I had the absolute pleasure of working with the excellent bronzesmith, Neil Burridge, down in Cornwall and finally embarking on some of my experimental work. I know I’ve been alluding to it for quite some time, though I’ve never actually explained what it is I’m trying to achieve and how. (more…)

Point Break: A Broken Sword at Salisbury Museum

You’ll be disappointed to hear that it’s only a quick post from me this time in my desperate attempt to keep up with myself! But never fear, there shall be a lengthy epic in the next couple of weeks! I had been eagerly awaiting my trip to Salisbury Museum for some time – Salisbury is a veritable goldmine of prehistoric material, sitting in the heart of Stonehenge Land (once Disney are done with Star Wars and Marvel, I’m pretty certain this is going to be their next venture) and their possession of a good chunk of Dorset material meant I had a valid excuse to go and enjoy myself in a new place! (more…)

It’s Always Sunny In South-West England

Phew! It’s been a hot, humid couple of days! Don’t get me wrong, I like the sun as much as the next ginger person, but it’s been quite nice to step into cool museum stores and lose myself in objects over the last two days. This week I’ve been tackling the collections at Christchurch and Plymouth, which are not evenly remotely close together and I’m now beginning to appreciate why people look at me as though I’m mad when I say I’m doing the whole of South West England. (more…)

A Song of Metal and Fire: Games of Stones (Part 2)

Okay so I know part 1 was a bit longer than necessary and basically a self-indulgent recount of how excited I was to look at things and be in Italy, but this second part contains the really good stuff, including smashing swords, casting objects and my failed attempts to convey to Italian children that I could not understand a word they were saying to me. (more…)