The Ringlemere Bronze Age cup will be on display at the Dover Museum, Kent as from October 17th 2006 until the end of February 2007 and will be displayed alongside the permanent exhibit, the Dover Bronze Age Boat. Go to http://www.dovermuseum.co.uk and click on the 'news' link for further information ...
"Our previous excavations have produced a wealth of information, which we are now starting to piece together. In prehistoric times, the site at Ringlemere must have been one of considerable importance. The story really begins around 2600 BC when a large circular ditched enclosure was constructed on the site, for reasons which still remain unclear to us. This enclosure was probably used for ceremonial purposes. We understand little of the detail but there had been a small rectangular timber building at the centre of the monument at one time, perhaps a shrine. This timber structure was surrounded by pits, holes for wooden posts and several hearths, all of which implies that there had once been considerable activity within the enclosed area.
Years later, perhaps around 2000 BC, a mound of turf and soil was heaped up in the middle of the old enclosure, burying all the earlier features. The mound seems to have created a platform to support a new timber structure, close to the site of the earlier shrine. A large pit dug into the top of the mound nearby may have originally contained the gold cup. By the time the gold cup came to be buried, however, the monument had perhaps already been in use (possibly intermittently) for well over 500 years. Yet, not long after, the site seems to have been abandoned, leaving the mound with its encircling ditch as a monument to the Ancestors, largely ignored by later inhabitants of the region. The Romans came and went without leaving much of a mark on the site. But to generations of local rabbits, foxes and badgers this ancient mound provided an ideal place to dig their burrows - we have excavated numerous examples of them.
Then, in about AD 450 new Anglo-Saxon settlers arrived in the region. To them, the ancient mound showed that this was a place of great importance, which would be very suitable for the burial of their dead. They established a cemetery here which contained over 50 individuals, some cremated. The cemetery went out of use around AD 550 and the area eventually became the farmland that it continues to be today."
After the find an excavation unearthed a burial site in a round barrow near to where the cup was discovered. One side of the cup had been crushed, probably by agricultural work in the field which dragged it from its original site; otherwise it is intact. The cup is strikingly similar to the Rillaton Cup, which is of a similar date, shape, size and design. Both have broad handles attached with lozenge shaped rivets, and were beaten out of a single piece of gold. The Ringlemere Cup is slightly larger though, and has a curved base. It is thought that the Rillaton Cup, which has a flat base, could originally have had a curved base.
Archaeologists found a grave containing fragmentary bones, possibly human. Though no whole skeleton has yet come to light this may be because bones have been dispersed by animals, or eroded by acidic soil. Excavation of the barrow also produced Mesolithic and late Neolithic flint tools and pottery, showing that people have been living near the field at Ringlemere Farm since at least 5,000 BC.
I have also seen this referred to as the ‘Woodnesborough Cup’ (Woodnesborough is the closest village to the farm) and the ‘Kent Cup’. The farm belongs to the Smith family, who agreed to both the metal detectors’ search, and the subsequent excavations which have now been back filled.
I realise this is cheating a bit by adding on a site that isn't really open, or doesn't necessarily have anything to see, but Ringlemere Farm is where the famous 'Ringlemere Cup' was found in 2002. The cup bears a very striking similarity to the Rillaton Cup, found at Rillaton barrow on Bodmin Moor.