Coll Hoard Conservation

by Kilmartin Museum in Kilmartin, Scotland, United Kingdom

We did it
On 5th May 2017 we successfully raised £10,930 with 48 supporters in 32 days

To conserve 13 items of Bronze Age metalwork recently discovered on the RSPB Scotland reserve at Breachacha, Isle of Coll.

by Kilmartin Museum in Kilmartin, Scotland, United Kingdom

Kilmartin Museum needs your support so that we can conserve and ultimately display thirteen Bronze Age artefacts discovered in the RSPB Scotland reserve on the Isle of Coll, including spearhead and sword fragments, and the socket from a knife.


Back in 2015, local metal-detecting enthusiast Kenny Macintyre was out and about on the south of the island when he came across a metal object, different from the bits of scrap metal he usually found. He contacted the Treasure Trove Unit in Edinburgh who were able to confirm that the object he had found was in fact a Bronze Age spearhead, dating from between 1000 to 800 B.C.

With the knowledge that items like this are normally found in hoards and being aware of the historical value of such a hoard, the Treasure Trove Unit decided to excavate further. Their hunch proved correct and with help from Kenny and other archaeologists a total of thirteen items were discovered at the site.

Natasha Ferguson from the Treasure Trove Unit describes a bit about the excavation:

The items had been deposited in what is suspected to have been a freshwater loch over 3,000 years ago. Based on information from similar sites over Europe it is believed to have been part of an ancient ritual.

Trevor Cowie, a former curator at the National Museums of Scotland explains why the Coll Hoard is so important:

What Happened Next?

The objects were claimed by the Crown, as is the case with most archaeological finds made in Scotland and through the Treasure Trove process were allocated to Kilmartin Museum on the Argyll mainland, which is the nearest museum to Coll. The pieces were then assessed by the Scottish Conservation Studio in Edinburgh, who advised us on their conservation needs and the cost of this.

Will Murray from the studio tells us about the initial stages of preservation:

Why We Need Your Help

Kilmartin Museum is an independent charity, and as such we rely on the generosity of donors to help keep us running.

We are now aiming to raise £10,000 to undertake the essential conservation work on these amazing pieces. Prehistoric bronze is very fragile, and the fact that they survived 3,000 years buried in the peat is as extraordinary as it is exciting. Having been removed from this preserving environment we now need to make sure they do not decay further, and can in due course be displayed at the museum for future generations to admire.

The Coll Hoard is a brilliant find, and its preservation is key to helping keep Scotland’s past alive and accessible for all. Thank you for supporting our work!

About the Museum

For 20 years Kilmartin Museum has been collecting, conserving and revealing the stories of Kilmartin Glen, one of the world’s most important archaeological landscapes. We have the rare honour of being one of the few places where artefacts are kept within walking distance of the area they were discovered, which provides a unique link directly to the past. Find out more here:

This project has been approved for funding through the Heritage + The Crowd match funding. It will receive a top up of 50% towards its fundraising target from Heritage Lottery Fund.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£10 or more

3 of 150 claimed

£10 Reward

Receive a thank you in our newsletter, on our website and on our Facebook page.

£25 or more

1 of 50 claimed

£25 Reward

Receive a thank you card with a high quality photograph of the conserved artefacts, and recognition in our newsletter, on our website and on our Facebook page.

£50 or more

£50 Reward

Receive a signed copy of Kilmartin Museum's walking guide In The Footsteps of Kings, a high quality archived print and public thanks as before.

£100 or more

£100 Reward

Receive a framed Temple Wood or Jolomo limited edition signed print, a signed copy of In The Footsteps of Kings, and public thanks as before.

£250 or more

0 of 15 claimed

£250 Reward

Receive an invitation for you and a friend to an exclusive meeting with Kilmartin Museum's curator Dr Sharon Webb. Dr Webb will show the artefacts and give a talk about them, and give a guided Glen walk and Museum tour. You will also receive a copy of In The Footsteps of Kings and public recognition as before.

£500 or more

1 of 13 claimed

£500 Reward

Conserve an artefact. Prices vary so please ask. Your name will be included on the object display label and you will receive a copy of the walking guide and public recognition.

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