Shropshire Bronze Age Treasure
The sun pendant, also known as a bulla, could be the most significant piece of Bronze Age metalwork ever discovered in Britain.
This rare and spectacular object will go on display for the first time ever at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery from September until December this year.
The sun pendant was discovered alongside a collection of objects in the Shropshire Marches in May 2018 by an anonymous metal detector user. This exceptionally beautiful object is one of the most significant Bronze Age pieces to be found in the country for over a century, but it's only one part of the story....
Keeping the Other Finds in Shropshire
While the Sun Pendant will reside at the British Museum, Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery needs your help to raise £40,000 to acquire a rare collection of archeologically significant Bronze Age objects from the same findspot. Raising this money will enable us to add these objects to the museum collection, conserve them and display them to the public.
Displaying these important objects in situ together for the first time at Shrewsbury Museum will offer a unique opportunity for visitors to learn about this fascinating period of Bronze Age Shropshire.
Among the unique finds we are fundraising to acquire is an exceptionally rare jewellery parcel wrapped in lead, and believed to be one of the earliest recorded uses of this material.
The vast array of high-quality metalwork from this landscape suggests that the Shropshire site was an important location for ceremonial activity for over a thousand years. These objects and ongoing fieldwork at the findspot reveal important discoveries about this period in British prehistory, advancing our collective archaeological knowledge and understanding of why precious objects would be deposited in a certain area. These finds also have the potential to help us date the transition between Bronze and Iron Ages.
Lead parcel containing two exquisite gold ‘lock-rings’ which were likely worn as jewellery in hair or clothing. Found close to the bulla, X-ray analysis reveals similar decoration. Composed of the same gold and from the same period, there appears close technological, cultural and chronological connections between the bulla and this lock-ring parcel.
Rare iron axe, of which there are less than 30 examples, dating to the period 850–650 BC. This axe is nationally significant as it dates the hoard to the very end of the Bronze Age and potentially within the very earliest Iron Age, straddling the transitional period between the Bronze and Iron Ages. This is the period where iron was beginning to be used by metal working smiths in Britain.
Organic material found with this hoard could provide a crucial radiocarbon date for this transition.
Further hoards Shrewsbury Museum hope to acquire include spearhead fragments and woodworking tools, an anvil and a razor. A well-worn cauldron handle, found only rarely within Shropshire, is noteworthy as it indicates the object’s importance to the county’s history. Also, a knife and chisel that help us understand militaristic side of Bronze Age society.
The Sun Pendant will be on display at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery from 12 September until 10 December 2021. We hope to be able to display these other significant finds alongside it.
Who Are We?
The Friends support Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery through fundraising and financial support for special events, acquisitions and educational programs.