Festival of Archaeology 2020: A Sussex Loop

From 11-19 July the Council of British Archaeology (CBA) is holding the annual Festival of Archaeology and this year it is going digital.

We would normally celebrate by holding events at Brighton Museum, but instead, like the CBA, we will be celebrating online by showcasing a different archaeology object each day this week. To start with, we take a look at a Sussex Loop.

Sussex Loop

This loop of bronze, known as a Sussex loop, was found at Falmer Hill, Brighton in 1918. It was one of four discovered along with a flint dagger. Thirty years after their discovery, one of the loops and the dagger were donated to Brighton Museum. The donor had obtained them from a local carpenter who explained that, many years earlier he had given away the other loops to children for a school museum.

It was made around 3,500 years ago during the Middle Bronze Age. Sussex loops are generally found in pairs or threes and in many cases are part of a larger Bronze Age hoard, which often includes items such as bronze jewellery, tools and weaponry, some of which appears to have been made on the Continent. Nearly all of those discovered so far have been found in the Sussex South Downs and Weald area.

The purpose of these intriguing objects, whom they were made for and why were they hoarded remains a mystery. They are generally thought to be some form of adornment, likely a bracelet. Those loops hoarded with other precious objects, could mean there was a specific ritual purpose to their burial, or they were buried to keep them safe. Future discoveries may uncover further clues.

There are four Sussex loops within Brighton Museum’s archaeology collections. Some are currently on display in the Elaine Evans Archaeology Gallery at Brighton Museum, which will hopefully open again to visitors in late August.

Heather York, Curator

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