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Sicilians In Ancient Salcombe

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Author Topic: Sicilians In Ancient Salcombe  (Read 1058 times)
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« on: May 18, 2009, 12:40:18 pm »

Some 360 items make this by far the largest group of metalwork in northwest Europe for this phase of the bronze age (Penard/Bronze Final I). It contains some types that are familiar in neighbouring continental regions, but extremely rare on British soil; some that derive from a more common crosschannel metalworking inheritance; and yet others that are rare at this date anywhere. The well preserved artefacts show scope for identifying different production regions. Provisional interpretation has seen this as a cargo of scrap collected from dispersed locations, mainly along the continental sea-board of the Channel and southern North Sea.

The Moor Sand site was discovered in 1977 by members of a diving school organised by the Youth Hostel Association, in an exposed location just to the west of Gammon Head, some 4km south-east of the entrance to Salcombe Harbour. It too was designated a historic wreck, in March 1978, and work on it was again led by the British Museum and the National Maritime Museum, until 1983. A scatter of bronze tools and weapons lay in 48m of water, on a seabed of rock gullies with sand infill descending to sand and gravel offshore.

A detailed search covered 1.5ha surrounding the original find spot, and a further less intensive search of over 5ha was conducted into deeper water. The total of eight objects found consists of six swords or sword fragments and two palstaves (axe blades).

The assemblage from Moor Sand is less easy to characterise than that from Langdon Bay. Firstly, it is a rather small group with only four diagnostic pieces. There must remain the possibility that it is but part of an originally much larger assemblage, particularly since objects had been dispersed across at least 100m of sea bed. Recent discoveries to the south-east of the site now seem to bear this out, as we will describe.
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