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12.04.2021

Mooghaun North Hoard

The Mooghaun North Hoard or Find Great Clare is the name of an important Bronze Age hoard found at Mooghaun North, near Newmarket-on-Fergus in County Clare, Ireland. Considered to be one of the greatest treasures of Bronze Age gold ever found north of the Alps, unfortunately much of the hoard was melted down shortly after its discovery. What remains of the hoard is now divided between the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin and the British Museum in London.

In March 1854, some workers building the West Clare Railway near Newmarket-on-Fergus were repurposing on a causeway near Mooghaun Lake when they accidentally discovered a huge cache of gold bronze jewelry. Moving a rock, they discovered a large cavity in the ground where the treasure was stored. Most of the precious objects were sold to local dealers who melted them down for their value in bullion, and only 29 of the more than 150 items survived. Most of the British Museum find was purchased from William Willoughby Cole, 3rd Earl of Enniskillen in 1857.

When it was discovered, the Northern Mughawn Hoard was one of the largest Bronze Age treasures ever found in Northern or Western Europe. It consisted of more than 150 gold objects, including 138 bracelets, six collars, two end pieces, and several other items, with a total weight of more than 5 kilograms. A total of 29 objects - 15 in the National Museum and 14 in the British Museum - survived the melting pot. The surviving jewelry from the hoard is represented mainly by crescent-shaped bracelets (23) and hexagonal collars. Fortunately many pieces from the hoard were copied before they were destroyed. Archaeologists are not sure why the hoard was placed in the stone chamber-perhaps it was used for preservation during a local crisis or perhaps it was an offering to the gods by vow.

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