Scan courtesy of Dr Andrew Gogbashian, Paul Strickland Scanner Centre.
The cauldrons consist of copper alloy bowls to which iron bands and rims and iron ring handles are attached. They are corroded and crushed from their time in the ground but most remain complete or with large, complete sections with their fragments in position.
Over the next 2-3 years our conservators will be excavating, recording and preserving the remains of each cauldron in turn. This is a meticulous process, requiring the delicate removal of hardened clay soil from egg-shell thin corroded copper bowls from above and below to examine and record the surfaces.
They will also be recording and sampling metal elements that survive in sufficient condition to reveal more about their construction, as well as any associated organic remains such as food residues or traces of associated plant fibre or animal bone that may indicate their former use, through scientific analysis.
The aim of the conservation work is to uncover features that show how they were made, decorated and repaired, how similar or different they are to other cauldrons of the period, what they were used for, how long they were used for, and how they finally came to be buried. This work will help us to discover more about the role of these objects in the Iron Age and their value to the prehistoric people who used and buried them.