Coach driver discovers Britain's largest hoard of Bronze Age axeheads by fluke

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London, Jan 22 : Britain's largest hoard of Bronze Age axeheads was accidentally discovered by a coach driver at a Dorset farm in UK.

According to a report in The Times, Tom Peirce, a coach driver, was waiting for a party of school children at a farm in Dorset when he decided to use the farm owner's metal detector in one of the fields.

After hearing a loud beep from the detector, Pierce surprisingly found a part of a bronze axe.

Over the next three days, Peirce and two other metal detectorists unearthed more than 500 items of Bronze Age metalwork, including 268 complete axeheads.

The axes, buried at three separate locations more than 50 metres apart, could be worth tens of thousands of pounds, the report said.

"When we took them out of the ground some of them were so pristine you would think you had just bought them at B and Q yet they were 3,000 years old," said Pierce.

"We were very lucky because there was not much else in the field. If we had tried another place or walked in a different direction we'd never have found them. This was a once in a lifetime find," he added.

The axeheads, which are four inches long and two inches wide, are being assessed by the British Museum, which might buy them.

The coroner for Bournemouth, Poole and East Dorset will hold an inquest at which it is expected that the axeheads will be declared treasure-trove. If so, the landowner and finder would receive a reward reflecting the market value of the hoard.

This discovery might also have other important archaeological implications, which might be the reason why Andrew Fitzpatrick of Wessex Archaeology has been asked by the British Museum to look for signs of a settlement.

"The artefacts could have been used as a form of currency and buried at a time of crisis but many people believe they were buried as an offering to the gods," said Fitzpatrick.

"A lot of Bronze Age objects like this were buried in the ground and it is a bit of a coincidence that many people didn't go back for them," he added.

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