Dog finds Bronze Age Axe
DEXTER SNIFFS OUT AN ANCIENT RARITY
DEXTER the labrador proved he had a nose for history when he unwittingly helped his owner make a significant archaeological discovery dating back more than 3,000 years.
Harvey Jones, of Cranleigh Gardens, Northwood, was walking boisterous two-year-old Dexter on Bembridge Down when he ran off into a massive gorse bush, dragging Mr Jones along with him.
The Bronze Age artefact was lying on the top of a rabbit hole in the middle of the bush - catching the eye of Mr Jones, who said: "It was only thanks to Dexter that I actually saw it.
"The thing about National Trust land is that you have to keep your pets on a lead, so wherever your pet goes you go and that meant accompanying Dexter into the bushes.
"When I picked up the axe head it was in perfect condition and looked almost brand new, like someone had dropped it there yesterday."
Curious to know more about the piece, Mr Jones dusted himself down and took his find to Frank Basford, of the IW Archaeology and Historic Environment Service.
He concluded the axe head was a looped palstave dating to the middle Bronze Age, from 1500BC to 1200BC and that it had an unusual design on the metal with four lines carved into the bronze, making it unlike any others found on the Island.
Mr Basford said: "Quite a number of looped palstaves have been found but this is the first of this particular type found here and it is in great condition."
After conservation work has been done on the palstave, it will take pride of place at the Guildhall Museum in Newport.
A gold sword belt ornament encrusted with garnets which could have belonged to the bloodthirsty seventh century Saxon king Caedwalla - and has been described as the missing link in Island history - looks likely to be lost to the Island.
The item was found on the beach at Bembridge by shop manager Darren Trickey and later declared treasure trove but its £50,000 valuation is beyond the £3,000 a year new acquisitions budget of the Guildhall Museum and could instead be bought by the British Museum.
It is felt that the only way it might be retained on the Island would be if locals were to raise around a quarter of the price, then seek grant funding to make up the difference.
Posted by BrigantesNation
23rd February 2004ce