Bronze Age ring discovered in Leicestershire to be auctioned

By Charlie Hawes

A Bronze Age ring, which is thought to be more 3,000 years old, is set to be sold at auction after being unearthed by a treasure hunter near the Leicestershire village of Ashby Magna.

The triple-branded gold penannular ring, which dates from around 1300-1140BC, was discovered in September last year when Malcolm Mott stuck gold with a metal detector.

An auctioneer has valued the ring between £2,000-£3,000, with an opening price of £1,800.

Chris Wren, of TimeLine Auctions in Essex, where the ring is due to be sold, explained the significance of the find. He said: “This is a nice, straightforward, generic object from the Bronze Age, these types of rings are not desperately common in the UK with similar finds across the country and in Ireland.  

“There is a debate about how it would have been used, either worn as a ring on the finger or used in the hair. Similarly, it’s possible these rings could have been used as a type of currency or as all three for multi-purpose.

“For trading, these rings could have been used as ‘hack silver’ or ‘ring money’ for the purchase or exchanging of goods.”

The Ashby Magna British Bronze Age triple-banded gold penannular ring

The ring has been analysed by the British Museum and has passed standard checks against the Interpol database of stolen works of art.

The British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) report of similar rings states: “Their appearance in Britain most likely coincides with the beginning of the ‘Ornament Horizon’ (c.1400-1100BC), a new tradition of gold ornaments which coincides with the early Taunton to the later Penard metalwork phases for England and Wales.”

According to the British Museum, the ring was made by “stacking three short lengths of circular sectioned wire, one on top of the other, to produce a ribbed ring. The ends of the wires are smoothed to give a continuous edge.”

The ring, which weighs 11.57 grams and measures 14.14mm overall, is to be auctioned by TimeLine Auctions in Harwich on November 29, 2022, at 10am.

For further information about the ring and the sale, visit the auction house website.

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