Sketch of the Bronze Age Sword (after JD Cowen in the Cantiana Archeology)

Written by Dr Alison Moore

The Folkestone Museum is hoping residents can help solve an archaeological mystery.

In 1951, a Bronze Age sword was dredged into the sea, about 36.5 meters (40 yards) from the shore off the site of the Roman Villa at East Wear Bay.

The discoverer, a local fisherman named H Brice, was told it may have archaeological significance by a GF Finn from Fairlight Road, Hythe.

The sword was examined by archaeologist JD Cowen under the auspices of then Borough Librarian R Howarth. Mr. Brice, the finder, retained possession of the sword.

Dated around 1000 to 750 BC. The full bronze sword was just over 65 centimeters (25 inches) long.

In style, it closely resembled sword shapes common in Dorset and, according to the newspaper Cantiana Archeology, it was the only such specimen found in Kent at the time.

The sword had a relatively simple hilt with a thickened molding under the exterior rivet hole on each side. A sword of a similar type is currently in the collection of the British Museum

It is not known how the sword ended up in the sea. It may have come from a Bronze Age burial at the edge of the cliff that had eroded from the unstable chalk.

Alternatively, the sword may have been deposited in the sea as part of a ritual; the deposit of ironwork in seas, rivers and streams that were part of prehistoric religious practice in Britain.

After Mr Brice’s death, the researcher, the Folkestone Museum (then at Grace Hill) attempted to locate the sword, but the trail cooled and any further investigation into its whereabouts or subsequent history was dropped.

Recently, while going through the documentation, a chance reference aroused our curiosity and we would like to know what happened to the sword to solve the mystery.

Can you help? Do you know or are you a descendant of Mr. Brice? Do you remember the sword found?

If you have any information, call Dr Alison Moore on 01303 257946 or send an email [email protected]

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