Bronze Age Gold Treasure

Bronze Age Gold BullaA couple of stunning examples of Bronze Age [dating to approx 950BC] gold craftsmanship were legally declared as treasure at the Belfast Coroner’s Court this week. The Ulster Herald has the best detail [ignore the headline] on the gold ‘bracelet’ – see below the fold – which would have been used to pin a cloak around the neck of a person of high status, found by Gary Sproule as he ploughed a field which had lain as pasture for more than 50 years on his farm at Castlederg, Co Tyrone. The other item was a ‘bulla’ or a type of amulet [pictured left], discovered by Glen Camley, an amateur metal detector, on farmland at Inch near Downpatrick. The detailed Irish News report is subscription bound for now. It’s hoped that both items will eventually be displayed at the Ulster Museum.Here’s a photograph by Declan Roughan of the Bronze Age cloak pin from the Irish News report.

Bronze Age Gold Cloak Pin

And a larger image of the gold bulla.

Bronze Age Gold Bulla


  • joeCanuck

    Can’t help wondering if the Chieftan (or a thief) just accidentally dropped it or whether the site merits further investigation.

  • Greagoir O’ Franclin

    Superb examples of our dear old heritage.

    Treasures of Ireland indeed!

  • The Raven

    Very much like the Broighter Gold haul them Limavady wans would like to get back from the foreign powers.

    Stunning stuff. I’m with joeC…let’s get a metal detector… 😉

  • Driftwood

    Inch is 3 miles from me, metal detector saturday.

  • abucs

    I was thinking the same thing Driftwood.

  • McGrath

    Remarkable condition indeed, largely due to to painstaking restoration. I ploughed many hundreds of acres in my youth, and excavated many trenches. I wonder how many other treasures were overlooked, for after many hours you just stop paying attention. With many homes now built beside and on top of our heritage sites, I wonder how much has been lost.

    I suppose it’s the rarety of the finds that adds considerable interest.

    What is the future of these objects? Are they up for bid? Will they stay in Ireland?

  • McGrath

    #1 Joe C:

    Maybe the wearer died at that spot? Can’t imagine something like that was given up without exceptional circumstances!

  • joeCanuck

    Yes, McGrath. I didn’t think of that. But for companions not to have picked it up might mean that there was a fight of sorts. Worth a bit of investigation, I think.

  • Greenflag

    The Bronze Age in Ireland was long and prosperous roughly 2000 BC to 600 BC and was followed by the ‘Celtic ‘ iron age . There are many Bronze Age gold artefacts in the Dublin Museum . The population of the island continually increased up to circa 1129 BC when there was a 20 year long winter probably resulting from volcanic explosions on Iceland . They mythology tells of people fleeing the island and dying of the plague etc etc . Mike Baillie of Belfast (Queens ) the dendrochologist has written extensively about this ‘hiatus’ in Irish history.

    The people who made these artefacts would have originally brought their skills with them from probably the meditteranean area along the coastlines or across from Britain in earlier times .

    Well done the farmer for handing it over to the Museum 🙂

  • Ring Of Piece

    Is Gary Sproule anything to Ivan? Can we use it to get Ivan on the squad?