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Still water, hidden depths: the deposition of Bronze Age metalwork in the English Fenland

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2015

David Yates
*Department of Archaeology, School of Human and Environmental Sciences, University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading RG6 6AB, UK
Richard Bradley
*Department of Archaeology, School of Human and Environmental Sciences, University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading RG6 6AB, UK


Finds of metalwork always raise the question of why they were deposited: a smith's collection, a concealed hoard or a votive offering? Findspots in water suggest offerings, since they would be awkward to retrieve. But understanding the context of deposition means knowing the prehistoric environment. The Fenland area of England has many Bronze Age sites, and deposits of metalwork and a well-mapped ancient environment too. Putting all three together the authors begin to assemble a grammar of deposition: swords and rapiers in rivers, some mixed collections placed in still water and others on once-dry land with burnt mounds.

Research articles
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd 2010

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