Photographing Bronze Age metalwork from the Isle of Coll

The hoard of Bronze Age metalwork consists of fragments of weapons, including spear heads and swords. Excavations on Coll in 2016 by Trevor Cowie and Natasha Ferguson of the Treasure Trove Unit suggest that these precious objects were deposited into a watery location over three thousand years ago, possibly as part of ceremonial acts. Some of the artefacts appear to have been deliberately broken, perhaps as an expression of conspicuous consumption.

A broken sword from the Coll Hoard (Photo: Aaron Watson)

Now the hoard is in the care of Kilmartin Museum who are about to stage a crowdfunding campaign to support their preservation. Many of the pieces are too delicate to clean without specialist conservation procedures, and some are suffering from a highly corrosive condition known as 'bronze disease'. This chemical reaction, if left unchecked, will rapidly eat away the metal resulting in their complete destruction.

Testing a patch of bronze disease on one of the Coll Hoard artefacts (Photo: Aaron Watson)

The crowdfunding campaign is due to be launched soon. For further information about Kilmartin Museum, please visit their website: