A Bronze Age axe hoard has been discovered at a site near Swanage, on the Isle of Purbeck, in south Dorset. Over 300 axe heads were found by metal detectorists, who initially thought they had found an unexploded bomb, so great was the signal from their equipment.
Follow-up excavation work, undertaken by a team from Wessex Archaeology, found many more incomplete items, bringing the tally to 500-plus artefacts.
Dr Andrew Fitzpatrick, of Wessex Archaeology, said: ‘It is one of the largest and important finds of its kind because of the size and the condition of the axes. The artefacts could have been used as a form of currency and buried at a time of crisis but many people believe they were deliberately buried as an offering to the gods.’