Bronze Age treasure comes to the Museum of London Docklands – What can the Havering Hoard tell us about the history of the UK’s capital city?

If you are a Londoner, you will know that not only are you surrounded by history in the buildings around you but you have walked upon it. If you have ever taken the London Underground you have travelled under and even through the city’s history. All of us are a little curious to see what has come before us. However, all cities with a long history are a palimpsest and finding anything that will shed light on Bronze Age London is very rare.

Excavation of the Havering hoard
Havering Hoard site discovery (c) Archaeological Solutions Ltd

All of you budding archaeologist, historians and mudlarkers will be excited to know that the Museum of London Docklands is working with Historic England and the Portable Antiquities Scheme to bring the Havering Hoard to London as the focal point of a major exhibition. This is the first time the finds will go on display. The collection consists of various objects, some of which are rarely found in the U.K.

Amongst the 453 bronze objects found in the planned dig were weapons and tools including axe heads, spearheads, fragments of swords and daggers. These items and others will be presented to the public as part of an exhibition that will aim to create a conversation around questions that the finds have raised for historians and archaeologist.

Why were they found where they were? Does the fact that the location was overlooking the river Thames have any significance? Could this have been a special place during the Bronze Age? Those working on the archaeological dig made the observation that the area made for a dramatic setting, especially as the sun rose and set.

Axe Havering Hoard
A Bronze Age axe head from the Havering Hoard 2 (c) Museum of London

Could these finds be what remains of a prehistoric rubbish pit? Almost all the weapons appear to be partially broken or damaged. If it was the content of a rubbish pit, why were these objects carefully buried in groups close together?

Could this treasure have been a religious offering, were they hoping to recycle the metal, control access to the material, or did Bronze Age tools lose their value with the emergence of iron technology?

These questions and more will be investigated in the exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands next year.

The exhibition opens 3rd April 2020 at the Museum of London Docklands. Click here for more information.

The museum is open daily 10am – 6pm and is FREE to all, and you can explore the Museum of London Docklands with collections online – home to 90,000 objects with more added regularly. Click here to go to site.

One thought on “Bronze Age treasure comes to the Museum of London Docklands – What can the Havering Hoard tell us about the history of the UK’s capital city?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s