The Lancaster Hoard and the Morecambe Hoard are both open Treasure cases, and thus secrecy must be maintained to prevent any illegal disturbance of the site. We unfortunately cannot reveal their locations, but…
The map above shows all the Bronze Age finds reported and catalogued by the Portable Antiquities Scheme. It is immediately clear that there are almost no finds reported in the northern Lancashire and Cumbria regions, leaving a huge gap in our knowledge about the Bronze Age in the North West.
By investigating the landscapes around the Lancaster and Morecambe Hoards, we can learn more about how Bronze Age people interacted with the world around them.
Lancaster Hoard Landscape
DigVentures’ excavation at the Lancaster Hoard findspot revealed that this hoard was buried in a burnt mound. As part of our ongoing work, we are creating a comprehensive record of the landscape around it in an attempt to further understand the hoard and the burnt mound in relation to the physical features of the land. Elevation, waterways, and sightlines are all critical factors in the study of the burnt mound’s placement.
Examining the topography can be done in several ways, but many geophysical methods and metal detecting are insufficient for a burnt mound, because the high volume of burnt material interferes with the sensing equipment. One suitable technique for gathering relevant data is through aerial photography and photogrammetry which will allow us to make a 3D model of the terrain. Models allow us to revisit the site remotely, and we can experiment with how light falls on the landscape, examine sightlines to other surrounding features, strip vegetation to get a look at the underlying ground surface, and more. All of this data helps us create a better picture of what the site would likely have looked like in the Bronze Age, and that context is crucial for piecing together the story of activity in the area.
We will be updating this space with the new data and models as soon as they are available, so be sure to check back as the dig continues!
Morecambe Hoard Landscape
The Morecambe Hoard was found on a large hill overlooking Morecambe Bay, with vistas of a nearby valley and the hills of the Lake District in the distance. It is surrounded by green, rolling farmland.
The mound where we focused our investigation is the highest point in a hidden valley inland of the coastline. One of the striking qualities of the location is that it is easier to see out into the surrounding landscape than for those on the outside to see in, even though the hill rises prominently. In this manner, sightlines become an important aspect of the monument in the landscape for us to investigate.
The Morecambe Urn was found slightly downslope, rather than on the summit of the mound. In the Bronze Age, the centre of the burial mound was not necessarily the prime burial space. Other burial mounds have produced multiple cremation urns in key places around the monument.