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Archaeologia Cantiana - Vol. 127   2007 page 41

Excavations at Ringlemere Farm, Woodnesborough, 2002-2006. 
   By Keith Parfitt and Stuart Needham

provided by the Rillaton gold cup, recovered from an Early Bronze Age cairn on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall during the nineteenth century (Smirke 1867; Needham 2000). The vessel from Ringlemere was discovered on a low, but quite distinct, rise in the middle of the field, which had every appearance of being a previously unknown round barrow. With only the Rillaton vessel in Britain and four or five more parallels in gold on the Continent, it quickly became clear that the Ringlemere cup was of both national and international importance.
   A Steering Group, consisting of a partnership of local and national archaeological organisations, was brought together to consider an appropriate response to the discovery and it was soon agreed that the find-spot required detailed investigation. Accordingly, an initial programme of field-walking, metal-detecting and geophysical survey, followed by excavation was organised (Parfitt 2003), and from this has evolved the Ringlemere Ancient Landscape Project, led by the Canterbury Archaeological Trust. The full excavation of the monument producing the gold cup was made a collaborative project between the Trust and the British Museum and excavations on this site were completed in the summer of 2006, with the support of the KAS, amongst other bodies.
   Ringlemere lies some 3.75km west of Sandwich, in the parish of Woodnesborough, about 1.5km west of the parish church, NGR TR 2938 5698 (Figs 1 and 2). Ringlemere Farm is some 400m to the south-east, with Black Pond Farm on Fleming Road 150m to the south-west (Fig. 2). The mound is situated at an elevation of between 10 and 13m above OD and in subsequent fieldwork has been designated Monument (M)1.

The Gold Cup

The image presented by the Ringlemere cup is striking, partly because of the obvious quality of the original workmanship, but also because of the severe crumpling it has recently suffered from agricultural machinery (Plate I). No physical restoration of the cup has been attempted because of concern that opening the severe buckles might alter the ancient metal structure. However, close inspection of the original, together with a virtual restoration by computer, has revealed the original shape of the vessel. By analogy with other Bronze Age cups made from precious materials and fresh consideration of their associations a date of around 1950-1700 BC may be suggested.
   As restored, the Ringlemere cup would have stood about 124mm tall (Needham et al. 2006; Fig. 3). The body of the vessel has all been raised out of a single piece of gold, the handle is a separate piece of sheet metal attached top and bottom by four rivets passing through tab extensions. Starting at the base, there is a small, neat omphalos [dimple]. The wall

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