Leicestershire's ancient treasures go on show at Snibston museum
Two 4,500-year-old pieces of jewellery are among a treasure trove of ancient artefacts going on show at an exhibition of Leicestershire's history.
The rare gold items, believed to be earrings or hair ornaments, are thought to pre-date Stonehenge, which was built between 2,400BC and 2,200BC, and make up part of the Treasure! exhibition, which opens at Snibston Discovery Museum this weekend.
The ancient items, unearthed in Gilmorton in 2005, are believed to date back to the 25th century BC – more than 1,000 years before the reign of the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamen.
Helen Sharp, archaeological officer for Leicestershire County Council, said: "They show Leicestershire's fantastic history. They're a posh bit of bling, I suppose.
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"Most ornamental items and jewellery at that time would have been made from beads or stone, so to have these would have marked the wearer out as being someone special.
"I can't say how much they're worth, but the archaeological value outstretches any monetary value."
The Treasure! collection includes more than 70 groups of objects, such as coin hoards, weapons and jewellery, and is being launched on Saturday.
Also on display will be the Hallaton Treasure – a collection of Iron Age and Roman finds, including 2,000 previously unseen coins, which are on loan from Harborough Museum.
The silver-gilt Bosworth Boar, a major find from Bosworth Battlefield, is one of the most recent additions to Leicestershire's archaeological trove.
Ms Sharp said: "The boar find was most likely given to one of Richard III's knights, who lost it during the Battle of Bosworth – every piece has a story.
"If you think about the objects you possess, they're all things which are personal to you – and it is the same for these."
In 2009, Andy Chamberlain, an amateur treasure-hunter uncovered a rare axe head mould – which was used by Bronze Age smiths to forge weapons – at Rothley, near Loughborough.
This will also be featured in the display.
"Treasure isn't always shiny coins," Mr Chamberlain said.
"Items such as these axe heads and the mould are just as important.
"They give us a glimpse into the past and show us what skills people had and how things were made.
"It's quite humbling to find things like this – things which no one has touched in thousands of years."
The Rothley Hoard, as it known, is made up of three bronze axe heads and the axe mould.
The exhibition opens this Saturday at Snibston Discovery Museum, in Coalville.
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