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HER Number MWB11802
Record Type Find Spot
Name Yattendon Court Hoard

Grid Reference SU 559 745
Map Sheet SU57SE
Parish Yattendon, West Berkshire
Map:Show location on Streetmap

Summary

Bronze Age hoard consisting of about 60 bronze weapons and tools of wide date range, found in 19th century when the foundations were being dug for Yattendon Court

Other Statuses and Cross-References

  • Berkshire SMR No. (pre 2000): 02419.00.000
  • National Monuments Record No.: SU 57 SE 10
    SU 5593 7457
  • SHINE Candidate (Unlikely)

Monument Type(s):

  • FINDSPOT (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)

Full Description

The hoard was discovered when a new house was being built on the top of a hill in Yattendon Park in the late 1870s, and it was first reported by Luke Lowsley in the local Transactions <1>. The date of the discovery is given as 1876 and 1878, and the house is now referred to as Yattendon Court. The exact number of pieces has also varied in several catalogues, from 58 <11> to 60 <10>, but this confusion may result from differing classifications of the functions of the artefacts.

Lowsley said that the hoard was about two feet below the surface, and that there was only bronze present, not iron. The hoard was exhibited at a meeting of the Society of Antiquaries in 1878, when Sir John Evans reported the objects were about 18 inches below the soil, in a mass of gravel discoloured by the action of fire. He dated them to the Late Bronze Age and refuted Lowsley's interpretation that they were mostly 'implements of war'; more likely they were the 'stock in trade of some ancient bronze founder' <2>. The broken condition of the swords, palstaves and other tools indicated to Evans that they had been put by as old metal rather than being in store for sale or barter.

The finds were originally kept by the houseowners (the Waterhouse family) <18>, but were loaned to Newbury (now West Berkshire) Museum in 1968. The museum's curator Coghlan carried out metallurgical analysis of several of the artefacts <11> and described and photographed each one. He listed 28 spearheads and sockets (also catalogued by Ehrenberg <6>), as well as socketed and flat axes <5>, palstaves, knives, chisels, gouges, sword fragments, 3 pieces of flat bronze sheet and other pieces. Coghlan noted that although most of the hoard was Late Bronze Age, the flat axe <12> was Early Bronze Age and the palstaves and five of the spearheads of Middle Bronze Age type. The high proportion of spearheads and sockets was unusual, and that in most cases the metal of the sockets was very thin and 'inadequate to withstand the stresses to which the spear could be subjected' <11>.

Although there are several possible reasons for hoards to have been deposited, such as for safe-keeping in a time of unrest, more recent archaeological interpretations would see such acts as ritual <17>, with no intention of recovery of the objects.

Sources and further reading

---Greenaway, R G. 2014. Yattendon for Vistors. p55. [Unpublished document / SWB149452]
<01>Newbury District Field Club. 1872-75. TRANS NEWBURY DISTRICT FIELD CLUB 1872-75 VOL 2. 2. p255 No 6 Note on some ancient Bronze Implements found at Yattendon Park in 1878 by Luke Lowsley. [Article in serial / SWB10336]
<02>1876-8. PROC SOC ANTIQ 1876-8 7 2ND SERIES. P480-485. [Article in serial / SWB10334]
<03>Evans, Sir J. 1881. ANCIENT BRONZE IMPLEMENTS, WEAPONS AND ORNAMENTS OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND. p169, 403, 466. [Monograph / SWB8261]
<04>Society of Antiquaries. ARCHAEOLOGIA 18? 61. LXI. p138. [Article in serial / SWB14723]
<05>1879. The Archaeological Journal 1879 36. XXXVI. In ADS Journals. p183. [Article in serial / SWB4356]
<06>Ditchfield and Page (eds). 1906. Victoria County History (VCH) Berks I 1906. Vol 1. P182-3, 196. [Monograph / SWB10017]
<07>Page and Ditchfield (eds). 1924. Victoria County History (VCH) Berks IV 1924. Vol 4. p125 Waterhouse Collection. [Monograph / SWB10281]
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/berks/vol4 (Accessed 24/09/2015)
<08>Smith-Masters, Rev J E. 1929. Yattendon and its Church. [Monograph / SWB10288]
<09>Peake, H. 1931. The Archaeology of Berkshire. P56 251. [Monograph / SWB10018]
<10>Newbury District Field Club. 1938. TRANS NEWBURY DISTRICT FIELD CLUB 1938 VOL 8 NO 1. p30-41 in The Bronze Age implements of the Newbury Region by V Roskill. [Article in serial / SWB10473]
<11>Coghlan, H H. 1970. A Report upon the Hoard of Bronze Age Tools and Weapons from Yattendon, Near Newbury, Berkshire. [Unpublished document / SWB14722]
<12>Berkshire Archaeological Society. 1971-2. Berkshire Archaeological Journal 1971-72 66. 66. In ADS Journals. 10.5284/1000017. p52 in Bronze Age Flat Axes from Berkshire by R A Rutland and H H Coghlan. [Article in serial / SWB8663]
http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/berks_bas_2007/journal.cfm?volume=66 (Accessed 11/11/2015)
<13>Ehrenberg, M R. 1977. Bronze Age Spearheads from Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. Nos Y 26-54, P53-6. [Monograph / SWB10338]
<14>TAYLOR, R. BRONZE AGE HOARDS IN SOUTHERN BRITAIN (UNPUB). [Unpublished document / SWB10339]
<15>Archaeology Branch of Ordnance Survey & Newbury Museum staff. 1913 onwards. Newbury Museum Archaeology Map XXVII SE.. 27SE. 6 inch. Annotated Hoard of Bronze Implements Ref Michael Waterhouse, The Manor House, Yattendon (AO Records). [Map / SWB11502]
<16>Archaeology Branch of Ordnance Survey & Newbury Museum staff. 1913 onwards. Newbury Museum Archaeology Map XXVIII SW.. 28SW. 6 inch. Annotated "Bronze Age Yattendon Hoard when 'Court' built". [Map / SWB12852]
<17>Hunter, J and Ralston, I (ed). 1999. The Archaeology of Britain. p108. [Monograph / SWB14248]
<18>Ordnance Survey. 1960s-70s. Ordnance Survey Field Investigators Comments. F1 JP 01-MAY-63. [Personal observation / SWB14640]
<19>Novak, Mariann. 2013. A multi-technique approach to the Yattendon Late Bronze Age hoard: archaeological and methodological conclusions. WBC Network. [Unpublished document / SWB148883]

Related Monuments

MWB15920Site of the first Yattendon Court (Monument)
MWB4488Site of YATTENDON COMMON POST MILL (Monument)

Associated Excavations and Fieldwork

  • None recorded