Monument record MNL 081 - Sparks Farm, Peterfen Drove. Eriswell Hoard

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"Eriswell hoard" - actually found in Mildenhall Parish.


Grid reference Centred TL 7130 7989 (50m by 50m)
Map sheet TL77NW


Type and Period (2)

Full Description

"Eriswell hoard" - actually found in Mildenhall Parish.

Hoard discovered by ploughing in December 1953(?). Area excavated a few months later by Lady Briscoe. Three yards to N a 'bronze mass' (second hoard? ). 50 yards away on the surface tip of rapier (S1). Site situated on tail of ridge extending from Beck Row (S2). Hoard found after plough struck hard object, on inspection a bronze sword found immediately below plough level (1 foot) in dark soil by Mr Sid Wiseman (now deceased). Overlay two rapiers and an awl. Area 18 x 12 feet excavated by Briscoe a few months later. Below ploughsoil a layer 3 inches thick of almost solid burnt and fractured flint and black soil, beneath this a layer 5-6 inches thick of black soil without flints. Hoard probably came from burnt flint layer as flints had been brought to surface by ploughing.
Sword: broad bladed with oval section and bevelled edges. Short mid-rib on each face. Two rivets in rivet holes plus rivet notches in short hilt. Rough post casting ricasso. Length 53.6cms (S2). Variously classified as:- a 'rod tanged' type, probably an Early Urnfield import (S3); Rixheim-Monza type (S4); and a local experimental product (S5).
Rapiers: one notch hilted rapier, 40 cms long, one notch hilted rapier/dirk, 21.9cms long.
Awl: with square section, pointed end with circular section, 10.2cms long (S2).

The `bronze mass' was found in loose ploughed soil 3 yards to N of the hoard and consisted of two fragments of roughly rectangular sheet bronze with rivet holes on two sides, one of which has remains of attached bronze sheet, length approximately 7.3cms (probably from cauldron or bucket), two rivets, diameter approximately 7mm. Tip of bronze `flesh hook', length 11.2cms approximately. `A few weeks later' the tip of a bronze rapier, approximately 6.6cms long, was found on ploughsoil surface about 50 yards from hoard (S2). Although often accepted as representing a single hoard (see (S5, 358), possibly representative of at least two separate hoards dating from the middle of LBAI (S2,S5) for the main hoard and, on the basis of present evidence, to LBAII (Wilburton phase (10th century BC)(S2, S5) at the earliest for the `bronze mass'. [note: current dating would now suggest this probably was a single hoard, probably of the 12th century BC - C Pendleton 2009].
1987: Fenland survey results not yet available although lithic scatter present around findspot of hoard.

Additional reference. The sheet-bronze is variously suggested to be part of a vessel such as a bucket or cauldron. The hook has been compared to typically LBA flesh-hooks. Note that the sword, rapiers and awl formed a distinct deposit, only 3 yards from, but clearly separate from, the sheet-metal and hook. The additional rapier point from c50 yards away thus represents one of three distinct deposits within a relatively confined area. (S14)

Sources/Archives (15)

  • <S1> Article in serial: Briscoe Lady G & Furness A. 1955. A hoard of BA weapons from Eriswell. Briscoe Lady G & Furness A, `A hoard of BA weapons from Eriswell', Antiq J, 35, 1955, 218-219, ill.
  • <S2> Unpublished document: Pendleton C F. The Distribution of BA Metalwork in NW Suffolk, BA Dissertation, Nottingham 1985. Pendleton C, The distribution of BA metalwork in NW Suff, BA dissertation, Nottingham, 1985.
  • <S3> Article in serial: Burgess C B. 1968. The Late Bronze Age in the British Isles & North West France. Burgess C B, `The LBA in the Brit Isles & NW France', Archaeol J, 125, 1968, 44.
  • <S4> Bibliographic reference: Rowlands M J. 1976. The Organisation of Middle Bronze Age Metalworking. I, 75-76, II, 260-261.
  • <S5> Bibliographic reference: O'Connor B. 1980. Cross Channel relations in The Later Bronze Age. O'Connor B,`Cross Channel relations in Later BA', BAR int, 91, 1980, 114.
  • <S6> Unpublished document: Basil Brown. Basil Brown Archive. Brown B, XCVIII, 4, 13.
  • <S7> Index: Ipswich Museum. IPSMG card. IPSMG, card BA (Eriswell).
  • <S8> Bibliographic reference: Taylor RJ. 1993. Hoards of the Bronze Age in Southern Britain (BAR 228).
  • <S9> Article in serial: 1955. Archaeology in Suffolk, 1955.
  • <S10> Article in monograph: Trump B A V. 1968. Fenland rapiers in Coles J M & Simpson D D A.
  • <S11> Bibliographic reference: Megaw, J.V.S. & Simpson, D.D.A.. 1979. Introduction to British Prehistory. Megaw J V S & Simpson D D A, Introduction to British Prehistory, 1979.
  • <S12> Index: OS. OS Card. OS, card TL77NW4.
  • <S12> Excavation archive: Pendleton C. 1990. Fenland Survey Archive.
  • <S13> Digital archive: Historic England. National Record Of the Historic Environment.
  • <S14> Bibliographic reference: Burgess, C. Gerloff, S.. 1981. Dirks and Rapiers of Great Britain and Ireland.

Finds (9)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Jan 22 2021 12:02PM

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