Spearheads, knives, axes and miscellanous items form the Burnham on Crouch Late Bronze Age Hoard

Burnham-on-Crouch Late Bronze Age hoard (Colchester)

In August 2010, metal detectorist John Humphrey discovered bronze objects and fragments of pottery in a field near Burnham-on-Crouch.

He reported the finds to the Essex Finds Liaison Officer (FLO) and informed the land owner.  Metal detectorists, Bill Hill, Clint Mann, and Graham Staff helped to look for the rest of the hoard. When they found the top of an almost complete pot, they contacted the FLO to organise an excavation.


Contents of the Hoard

This Late Bronze Age hoard of 214 metal objects is over 3000-years-old and was, probably deposited by a metalworker. The hoard contains some complete items, but largely waste pieces that would be recast.

The hoard was declared treasure under the Treasure Act 1996. It was acquired through part donation for Colchester Castle Museum. It includes:

  • 69 axes (various types)
  • 13 spearheads
  • 5 knives
  • 2 socketed gouges
  • 3 sickle fragments
  • 12 sword fragments
  • 2 harness fittings
  • 96 casting waste and ingot fragments
  • 24 miscellaneous items
  • 2-3 pots


What happened during the excavation?


The excavation took place on the 12 October 2010 led by Laura McLean, Essex FLO, and Kate Orr from Colchester and Ipswich Museums. The metal detectorists were present along with members of the British Museum’s Treasure team.

An area of 1.9m x 1.75m was dug around the exposed pot. The pot was very fragile and the metalwork inside made it unstable.  The team decided to lift both the pot and the surrounding soil together, a process known as block lifting. The top was uncovered and then the pot and surrounding soil were wrapped in thin plastic sheeting. Block lifting ensured that the pot and the metalwork inside could be carefully examined and excavated in a conservation laboratory. The pot was separated into four sections to enable the removal of the metalwork.

For further information on the excavation visit: and search for record ESS-8822A3


Who were the Discovery and Excavation Team?


Metal Detectorists

Bill Hill
Clint Mann
Graham Starr
John Humphreys

Finds Liaison Officer

Laura McLean

Colchester and Ipswich Museums

Kate Orr
Stefanie White

Other Bronze Age Collections

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