Bronze Age treasure discovered at hospice site

Archaeologists have unearthed Bronze Age treasure during a dig at the site of a planned new hospice in Gorleston.

Six items were discovered in what is believed to be an ancient boundary ditch at the East Coast Hospice site on Sidegate Road, near Beacon Park.

The team from Hertfordshire-based Archaeological Solutions found two quoit-headed pins about 35cm long, two large decorated twisted torques 18cm diameter and two small torques.

The company was asked to carry out an archaeological survey ahead of the submission of a formal planning application for the new hospice serving the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area.

The finds are believed to date from the middle Bronze Age, making them about 3,500 years old, and have now been registered as treasure.

The discoveries were made late in the survey after the earlier confirmation of the existence of an Iron Age ring ditch marking the possible burial of an important person close to what will become the entrance to the hospice.

East Coast Hospice chairman David Nettleship said the site was believed to be of archaeological interest as circular crop marks could be seen in aerial photographs.

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He said the charity now hopes to undertake a full investigation of both areas before building work begins involving local archaeologists and interested people under the guidance of experts.

The charity also has plans to recreate the ring ditch as part of the landscaping of the site and to have a permanent display of the finds and archaeology in the hospice itself.

Mr Nettleship said of the ring ditch: 'At the moment you wouldn't know it is there. We hope to recreate it so as you drive into the site it will be on your left and will be about 30 to 35 feet across.'

He said the Bronze Age items were not particularly valuable but archaeologically very interesting and added: 'The trustees are delighted to have discovered that they have the stewardship of a site for the hospice which already has an ancient reverence for the cycle of life and death.'

Martin Brook, assistant project manager at Archaeological Solutions, said the team was on site for about two and half weeks and found the items in a boundary ditch.

'All of these finds come from the same segment of the same ditch in one trench,' he said.

'The two quoit-headed pins are not common. Less than 60 are known and these are between the fifth and seventh longest recorded. It is always very nice to find these kinds of things and from an academic point of view it is pretty important.'