Rare Bronze Age gold cup discovered

An amateur treasure hunter has found an extremely rare gold Bronze Age cup-only the second such discovery in Britain, archaeologists said Thursday, according to media reports.

The embossed 4-inch-high cup was spotted in a prehistoric burial mound in a field in Kent, southern England by a member of the public using a metal detector, English Heritage said. The Guardian newspaper in London reported that the cup could be worth $358,000. The newspaper also identified the metal detector enthusiast who discovered the cup as Cliff Bradshaw. Bradshaw, the newspaper added, and unidentified landowner had agreed to split the proceeds of any sale evenly between them.

Dating back to 1700-1500 B.C., the ceremonial vessel beaten from a single lump of gold is roughly the same age as the famous prehistoric stone circle at Stonehenge and is one of the oldest treasures ever discovered in Britain, the AP reported.

A similar treasure, the Rillaton cup, was found buried with a human skeleton in Cornwall, southern England in 1837 and is now in the British Museum.

The chief archaeologist for English Heritage, David Miles, told the AP the recent find was “outstanding and internationally important.”

He said further exploration of the mound had unearthed bone fragments that may be human, as well as Mesolithic and late Neolithic flint tools and pottery, the AP reported.

The cup is being held in the British Museum, which hopes to buy it, while its true value is determined by a body of independent specialists appointed by the government, the AP reported.