Appeal

Stalbridge Middle Bronze Age Hoard Appeal

November 2, 2023

UPDATE: We’re delighted that we have now reached our funding target for this item.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this appeal. There will be more news on this important acquisition in due course.

Stalbridge Middle Bronze Age Hoard Appeal. Rights Holder: Surrey County Council CC BY 2.0 DEED
Middle Bronze Age rapier, a bangle and palstave axe head. PAS/The British Museum, Surrey County Council CC BY 2.0 DEED

Dorset Museum and Art Gallery is hoping to acquire a highly unusual and important group of bronze objects dating to the Middle Bronze Age.

It consists of a palstave axe head, an uncommon bangle with incised decoration and a rapier sword which were found at Stalbridge. The rapier is very unusual indeed. Not only was it apparently deliberately broken in three pieces and buried, but the hilt is shaped to mimic a wooden handle. Only two remotely similar (and incomplete) examples could be identified in Britain. It does however have some similarities with the solid-cast hilts of Nordic rapiers from Scandinavia. What’s it doing in Dorset in the 13th century BCE? Again, this hoard has huge potential for display, but also future research which will enable us to continue to flesh out the story of our Dorset forebears. The Stalbridge rapier hoard has been valued at £17,000.

We are seeking support from several trusts who have generously helped us in the past, but we will still need to raise a very substantial amount of this money locally. We will also need to find additional funds to put the Stalbridge hoard on display, and we need to consider future conservation costs.

You can find out more about the hoard on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database.

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