Updated 04 May 2015

Spearhead at Bear Mead

Return to Portal

Spearhead at Bear Mead.

On 06apr2015 I got an email from Nick asking if he could explore under the surface at Lake Mill with a metal detector. I replied, why not try Bear Mead first?
The result was a spear made in the time of Homer and Troy.

Sean MacDonald writes on 08apr2015
"The spear head was a very exciting find for us and a very rare find indeed. It's hard to say if this is a Bronze Age settlement but thanks to John we will continue to search this wonderful area and hopefully find more items of interest. Myself (Sean Macdonald), Nick Simpson & Ian Bennington have been detecting for over a year now and are totally addicted. We have had great fortune in getting permission from local farmers & land owners in the Wimborne and Corfe Mullen area and continue to do so for the foreseeable as we have a huge interest in the local history and love showing our finds to the owners and local public.
Watch this space and hopefully we can bring more exciting relics to light."

Quote of the week by Sean MacDonald:
"The problem we are having at the moment is the length of the grass as we are losing about an inch in depth, doesn't sound much but it's equivalent to a few hundred years. I've ordered a new coil so should make up for the depth, hopefully get it tomorrow."

Deposition to Wimborne Museum:
On 13 Apr 2015, with agreement between finder and landowner, ownership of the spearhead was transferred to the Priest's House Museum, 23-27 High Street, Wimborne Minster, Dorset for safe keeping. Shortly the spearhead will be available for public viewing during opening hours.
[Ref: Transfer of Title Form: WIMPH No:T1425, item ref: 2015.25]

What was found.

Socketed spearhead, Middle to Late Bronze Age (1,500-700 BC). Size 115mm x 28 mm. Weight=65 grams.
Found on the banks of the Dorset Stour at Bear Mead, on 07 Apr 2015 on grass pasture, by Ian Bennetton with metal detector. Conditions: Dry and warm.15°C, grass still short. Groundwater 102 cms below surface, river 154, within 200 yards of the Bear Stone monolith.
Composition: Classic bronze: 90% copper, 10% tin. Value: up to £300.

Socketed Spearhead
"A type of spearhead typical of the middle and later stages of the European Bronze Age in which an elongated hollow was cast into the base of the blade to receive the shaped end of the wooden spear shaft. Some socketed spearheads are fixed to the shaft by means of a peg set at right angles through the metal walls of the spearhead and the wooden shaft within; others are secured by lashings fixed to loops cast into the base of the metal spearhead."
From Archeology Wordsmith
Showing full-length conical socket

Who found it.

Metal detector man Ian Bennetton (foreground) and landowner John Palmer (background)

Where it was found.

About 7 cms below grass surface, on gravel sub-surface, 10 metres South of Dorset Stour, at Bear Mead.

More about it.

A similar spearhead is held at the Shrewsbury Museum, Shropshire, item A/2003/057

Magnetometer survey.

©Bournemouth University, Archeology

How it was made.

One half of a bronze mould for casting a socketed spear head, found at East Pennard, England. Dated to the period 1400-1000 BC, it is without parallels. Photographed in the Somerset County Museum, Taunton, on 29-Oct-05.

Local paper said.

    6:01am Monday 20 April 2015

    First published in News
    by Alex Winter

    HISTORIANS searching for clues that will lead them to the site of an ancient mill have unearthed a 3,000-year-old spearhead on the site of a private nature reserve.

    The land, once an unwanted flood plain, was transformed into an idyllic space by Corfe Mullen man John Palmer 12 years ago after it failed to attract any bids at auction.

    After planting 500 oak trees on a stretch of the 25-acre site, Mr Palmer set about uncovering some of the land's secrets.

    The 74-year-old said: "One of my interests is building websites, and I have designed one that tells the story of Bear Mead.

    "Through that website, I received an email from three men who were interested in locating the site of Lake Mill, which I believe is the site of the mill for Corfe Mullen mentioned in the Domesday Book. There would be nothing to see there at all any more, but they were interested in bringing their metal detectors onto my land, and of course I said that would be fine. They had barely started searching when they found the spearhead."

    Research conducted by historians has revealed that the spearhead was created in the Bronze Age - a span of time stretching between 1500 BC and 700 BC.

    As such, it is predicted to be 3,000 years old.

    The artefact weighs just 65 grams, and is made up mostly of copper ore from Wales.

    Around 10 per cent of the spearhead is made of tin, mined in Cornwall.

    Mr Palmer said: "We made an agreement together that the spearhead should go to the Priest's House Museum in Wimborne for safe-keeping.

    "Shortly it will be available for public viewing at the museum."

    It's not the only find made on the reserve - Mr Palmer also discovered a one-tonne monolith lying flat in the earth during the winter.

    Although not deemed to be of historical significance, the monolith, created from rock quarried in Purbeck, is suspected to have been ferried to the site by water many thousands of years ago.

    A length of "peculiar" wire found on the borders of the land was also uncovered as Mr Palmer and his wife worked to clear hedges and ditches at the reserve.

    It is believed that the former owner would have had to place the wire around the land when an enclosures act was passed in 1813, making it a requirement for landowners to fence off their property.


----Anyone with more details for publication on this webpage, please email ----
Ben Urmston wrote on 03may2015:

Hi John,
It was good to meet you earlier this week. I've finally had chance to process the data and do some interpretation; it's currently on my home computer so it's not as polished as it could be but I'll rectify that once I'm back in the office.

I've attached images of the data, one at standard range and one (Wide) showing the location of ferrous anomalies. There are world files included, so they should work nicely with any GIS software you have (qGIS or the like); I'm planning to create some PDFs with the free OS mapping as background sometime soon, but my free software outside the Uni is a bit clunky!

I hope you're having a good Bank Holiday and I also hope we'll be in touch again soon regarding any further survey work you think might be useful.



Compiled, formatted, hyperlinked, encoded, and copyright © 2015, John Palmer, All Rights Reserved.