THE Castle Eden beaker was unearthed, together with human remains, under a hedge near St James’ Church.
Landowner Rowland Burdon’s account of the discovery states: “The mouth of the vase was applied to the skull of a human figure so near the surface as to leave the bottom of the vase exposed in the gutter of the hedge. The body had been lain horizontally east to west, the head towards the east had been covered with a heap of ordinary field stones.
“The labourer said that the skull and bones appeared entire, but he was ordered by the clergyman of the place to make no further search. I had the curiosity, however, to open up the ground and found a cavity that might be supposed to contain a body and a quantity of deep-coloured soil which I presumed to be the ashes of the bones mouldered by the admission of the air.”
The beaker did not come to the British Museum until 1947.
Joe Davies said: “It is remarkable that it’s survived for so many centuries and all weathers in the ground, and was not broken in 200 years of being passed down and among families.”