Archaeologists have discovered a remarkable set of Bronze Age ritual offerings, which they described as ''absolutely jaw-dropping”, including jewelry, ornaments, weapons, and a pristine pressed flower that had been placed inside the hollow end of an axe handle.
The Guardian reports that the discovery was made at an excavation site in Lancashire. The people who created the offering were a farming community, who placed their ritual offerings in waterlogged sites. This kind of well-preserved hoard is rare and, until now, the researchers believed that Bronze Age votive offerings were primarily focused on metal. However, this finding reveals that the offerings could include a wide variety of other objects, such as food, clothing, and wooden items.
Among many impressive treasures, the researchers unearthed a thistle flower, which is a unique offering of its time, and surprisingly well-preserved. It was placed inside the hollow end of an axe handle, one of many discovered in the hoard, which had been filled with hazelnuts. Dr Ben Roberts, a lecturer at Durham University and the British Museum’s former curator of European Bronze Age collections, told The Guardian that the thistle flower is a very rare artifact from the Bronze Age. Flowers have been discovered in earlier graves, but during this specific period human remains were cremated and such offerings would normally be destroyed. In this case, the hoard was preserved because it was not directly linked to the burial site, but was a separate ritual offering.
In addition to the flower, the research team discovered a large number of axes, spearheads (with the blades still sharp), arm rings, bracelets and other ornaments.
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