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Rare objects discovered in the Havering Hoard reveal fascinating insights into Bronze Age London

Curator Kate Sumnall reveals a rare Terret Ring from Havering Hoard A Bronze Age Mystery (c) David Parry PA

Curator Kate Sumnall reveals a rare Terret Ring from Havering Hoard A Bronze Age Mystery (c) David Parry PA

The Museum of London Docklands has for the first time revealed a closer look at the Havering Hoard ahead of the upcoming major exhibition, Havering Hoard: A Bronze Age Mystery.

Among the objects revealed are a pair of terret rings, a rare discovery as these are the first Bronze Age examples of their kind ever to be found in the UK. These objects are believed to have been used to prevent the reins from tangling on horse-drawn carts, giving us a fascinating insight into how people and goods may have travelled cross-country. The discovery of these terret rings, along with a bracelet believed to be from the modern day French/German border and copper ingots possibly originating from the Alps, suggests a well-connected community of travelers and traders across Europe.

Buried in four separate parts, the largest Bronze Age hoard ever discovered in London poses questions as to why they were collected and buried in such a meticulous manner while providing fascinating clues about the beliefs, values and nature of a complex and often enigmatic society.

Axe head from Havering Hoard at the Museum of London Docklands

Axe head from Havering Hoard A Bronze Age Mystery (c) David Parry PA Wire

Discovered in Havering, a total of 453 bronze objects dating between c.900 and c.800 BCE were uncovered by archaeologists from Archaeological Solutions as part of a planned archaeological excavation.

This internationally significant find will be the focus of the exhibition as it takes visitors on a journey through life in the Late Bronze Age. Artefacts from the hoard, including tools and weapons, will feature alongside objects from the museum’s collection to tell the story of the people who lived and worked during this period of remarkable history.

Bronze Age bracelet from the Havering Hoard

Bracelet from Havering Hoard A Bronze Age Mystery (c) David Parry PA Wire

Kate Sumnall, Curator of Archaeology at the Museum of London, said: “The Havering Hoard contains a wealth of artefacts that is 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. 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.” 

Andrew Peachey, Specialist in Prehistoric and Roman Pottery at Archaeological Solutions, said: “The vast progress through stages of archaeological investigations, moving from aerial photography to field work and on to laboratory micro-excavation at this site in Havering, has allowed us to examine and uncover the history of London in new and exciting ways. 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.”

About the Museum of London Docklands

The Museum of London Docklands is located at West India Quay in east London. Opened in 2003, the grade one listed converted Georgian sugar warehouse specifically tells the story of the port, river and city – focusing on trade, migration and commerce in London.

Normally, not during the CV crisis, the museum is open daily from 10am – 6pm and is FREE to all. You can also explore the Museum of London Docklands with collections online – home to 90,000 objects with more added regularly. www.museumoflondon.org.uk.