Ringlemere Cup


Ringlemere Cup

Infobox Artifact
name = Ringlemere Cup


image_caption = Photographed on 29 August 2007
material = Gold
created = 1700-1500 BC
discovered = Ringlemere barrow in 2001
location = British Museum

The Ringlemere Gold Cup is a Bronze Age vessel found in the Ringlemere barrow near Sandwich in the English county of Kent in 2001 by metal detectorist Cliff Bradshaw. Although badly crushed by recent plough damage it can be seen to have been 14cm high with corrugated sides. The cup resembles a late Neolithic (approximately 2300 BC) ceramic beaker with corded decoration but dates to a much later period. Only five similar cups have been found in Europe, all dating to the period between 1700 and 1500 BC. the cup is similar to the Rillaton gold cup found in Cornwall in 1837.

History

It is thought that the cup was not a grave good however but a votive offering independent of any inhumation, which was placed at the centre of the barrow in approximately 1700 - 1500 BC. No contemporary burials have in fact been found at the site, although later Iron Age ones have since been found, along with a Saxon cemetery.

Bradshaw reported the find of the cup to the local coroner's office, and through the Portable Antiquities Scheme and the Treasure Act 1996 the cup was recorded and declared to be treasure in 2002. It was bought by the British Museum for the amount of £270,000 (roughly US$520,000), with the money paid split between Mr. Bradshaw and the Smith family who own Ringlemere Farm. The money to secure the cup for the nation was raised through donations by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Art Collections Fund and the British Museum Friends. This also enabled the site to be properly excavated, revealing a previously unsuspected funerary complex of Early Bronze Age date (approximately 2300 BC) on the site

The cup was number 10 in the list of British archaeological finds selected by experts at the British Museum for the 2003 BBC Television documentary "Our Top Ten Treasures" which included an interview with Bradshaw.

From 14 May 2004 until 13 January 2006 the cup appeared in the Museum's "Buried Treasure" exhibition on treasure trove, both at the Museum itself and touring (to the National Museum & Gallery of Wales at Cardiff, Manchester Museum, the Hancock Museum at Newcastle, and the Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery). On its return to London, it was on temporary display in Room 2 of the British Museum, with the Rillaton cup, until 17th October 2006. From 17th October to 26 February 2007 it was on temporary display in Dover Museum, closer to its find-spot, and it is now back in the Prehistory galleries at the British Museum.

External links

* [http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/pe_prb/t/the_ringlemere_gold_cup.aspx British Museum: The Ringlemere gold cup]
*http://www.culture.gov.uk/Reference_library/Press_notices/archive_2003/dcms117_2003.htm
*http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,2011880,00.html


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