3,000 year old historic artefact found on Isle of Wight beach

Holidaymakers, June and Christopher Preece from Banbury in Oxfordshire, made the discovery and have donated the find to the Isle of Wight.

Historic knife and button

Exciting archaeological news from the Isle of Wight Council. Ed

A couple on holiday on the Isle of Wight have made a discovery of an historic artefact thought to be thousands of years old.

June and Christopher Preece from Banbury in Oxfordshire were visiting the Island in early July. Being a keen metal detectorist, Chris was using his metal detector when he found a number of small metallic objects under a slab of clay on Sandown Beach.

Chris and June Preece Bronze Age Knife Discovery

The couple took the finds into Visit Isle of Wight’s visitor centre in Newport Guildhall, where staff passed it on to the Isle of Wight Council’s finds liaison officer Frank Basford.

A small knife from the Bronze Age
Frank has since confirmed under the Portable Antiquities Scheme that one is a small knife thought to date from the Bronze Age and was made about 1000 to 800BC.

The knife is made from copper alloy and was most likely a leather working tool.

Discovered in Sandown
Another of the finds is of a button dating from the seventeenth century.

Recalling making the find, Christopher said:

“We love searching for items with our metal detectors and were walking on Sandown Beach when it buzzed and we noticed that the objects looked unusual.

“I have a keen interest in history and immediately thought they were very old, because the knife has a green colour which is often found on old copper. The shape also gave me an indication it was an historical artefact.

“We decided to take it to the visitor centre in Newport so that it could be passed on and identified.”

Donated to the Island
June added:

“To be told the knife is several thousand years old is just incredible. We never thought what we found was so old.

“As it was found on the Island, we are very keen for residents and visitors to enjoy it and were happy to donate it to the council’s museum’s service so it can go on display.”

The Bronze Age knife is now on display at Newport Roman Villa, along with the button.

Councillor Shirley Smart, Isle of Wight Council Executive member for tourism, said:

“This is a wonderful discovery for the Isle of Wight and I want to personally thank Christopher and June for not only making the finds, but also kindly donating them to us so that people can enjoy them.”

The Portable Antiquities Scheme is a Department for Culture, Media and Sport-funded project based at the British Museum which aims to encourage the voluntary recording of archaeological objects found by members of the public in England and Wales.

If you have any interesting Isle of Wight archaeological finds, please report it to Frank Basford via frank.basford@iow.gov.uk or by calling (01983) 823810.

Monday, 3rd August, 2015 10:10am


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4 Comments on "3,000 year old historic artefact found on Isle of Wight beach"

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“Exciting paleontology news from the Isle of Wight Council. Ed”

Not sure if this is from the council or from yourselves, but Paleontology is the study of fossils.

You mean archaeology.

Sally Perry

Doh! My fault, I must have been distracted when writing that.

Mike Vallender

Metal detection is not something I have ever tried but this must count as one of those amazing WOW moments.

To have this go from the natural inquisitiveness of wondering what one has detected, to the genuine realisation that you are handling something that represents a time of history and its importance must give a great deal of satisfaction.


Great news in your find. I am wondering if you might have found my silver bracelet I lost on Sandown Beach between Culver cliffs and Browns Golf course may 2015. That would be amazing if you had. Jennifer