Prehistoric gold find may join twin in Newcastle museum

Gold ornament set to be reunited with 4,300-year old twin at Great North Museum in Newcastle

Jo Anderson from the Great North Museum, with the twin gold hair tress, which was found at Kirkhaugh
Jo Anderson from the Great North Museum, with the twin gold hair tress, which was found at Kirkhaugh

A gold ornament unearthed in Northumberland is set to rejoin its 4,300-year-old twin in a North East museum.

The gold hair tress was found by four boys taking part in a community dig at a burial cairn in Kirkhaugh in the South Tyne Valley.

The site is believed to have been the grave of one of the first metal workers and prospectors to arrive in Britain from abroad in the early Bronze Age.

He would have worn the two gold tresses in his hair as a sign of the high status which came from being able to find metal-bearing ore and turn it into prized objects.

A similar tress was found in 1935 when the site was first excavated by Herbert Maryon of King’s College, Newcastle.

It became part of the collection of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne and is on show at the city’s Great North Museum in its prehistory gallery.

The display containing the twin gold hair tress at the Great North Museum
The display containing the twin gold hair tress at the Great North Museum
 

Now there are hopes that the two tresses which once adorned the Kirkhaugh man will be reunited and put on display with the story of their prehistoric owner. Also found in the Kirkhaugh burial were flint arrowheads, stone metal-working tools and a beaker – all similar to the objects found in 2002 in the grave of the Amesbury Archer near Stonehenge.

Analysis of the Amesbury Archer’s teeth revealed that he grew up in the Alpine region.

“We are very excited at the idea of the second gold tress coming to the museum. It would be wonderful,” said Jo Anderson, assistant keeper of archaeology at the museum.

“If the Amesbury Archer was from the Alps then so may the Kirkhaugh man have been, whose arrival would have blown the minds of the local people.

“His gold tresses, which he may have made himself, would have looked stunning.

“He would have looked the part.”

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