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Sicilians In Ancient Salcombe

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Author Topic: Sicilians In Ancient Salcombe  (Read 1099 times)
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« on: May 18, 2009, 12:43:10 pm »

All of the identifiable objects, both gold and bronze, are of the same metalworking phase of the bronze age (c13001150BC) the same period as the finds from Moor Sand, which lies just 500m to the east of the Salcombe aCannon site. That the two assemblages are contemporary and contain some similar types of object might suggest that they are related to one another. But it is not yet understood how they might have become dispersed so widely across the seabed and, prior to further research, we are keeping an open mind as to whether the material resulted from a single wreck or a more complex sequence of events.

The strumento con immanicatura a cannone is a rather blunt-edged socketed implement of uncertain function. It was first identified by comparison with reference material in the British Museum's collections as well as published descriptions, and this was supported by metal analysis. Similar objects occur in some hoard associations in Sicily and can therefore be placed in the local sequence. The dating comes out, rather neatly, as in or around the 13th century BC. Whilst a number of Mediterranean objects of this date have find provenances in north-west Europe, all are from antiquarian collections or have insecure contexts: none can be proven to have left the Mediterranean more than a few centuries ago. The Sicilian object from Salcombe is therefore the first secure object of Mediterranean origin and bronze age date to be found in north-west Europe.

The presence of the Salcombe B finds so close to the Canon site has raised the obvious question as to whether they might have come from this wreck, in which case they would presumably have been antiquarian curios carried on board. However, this is highly unlikely. In the Penard/Bronze Final 1 stage, bronze metalwork was not being deposited with the dead and so could not have come from tombs looted in the 17th century ad or earlier. Again, hoards of this period are generally quite small, smaller than the already extant Salcombe group. The objects in the assemblage have predominantly British or north-west French affinities, as one might expect for a genuine bronze age find from the intervening strip of sea.
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