A COLLECTION of Bronze Age items discovered in Furness have been declared as treasure at an inquest held yesterday.

Metal detectorists John Rigg and Darren Fine unearthed the find at land in Urswick on April 12 last year.

The hoard consisted of one gold bracelet, three gold penannular lock-rings, and a cauldron fragment, all found together in one find spot.

Experts at the British Museum in London estimated the collection to have originated from 800 to 1,000 BC, making them approximately 3,000 years old.

The lock-rings are all made from gold sheet face plates that are bi-conical in form and triangular in section with central tubes and side plates formed from the same sheet. They are secured by a binding strip of round sectioned gold wire fused to the plate to form an outer rim-binding.

Under the Treasure Act, for an item to be declared treasure, it must be at least 300 years old, not a coin, and contain at least 10 per cent special metal.

Cumbria Assistant Coroner Paul O'Donnell accepted the findings of the report and declared the items treasure, at the hearing at Barrow Town Hall.

Mr O'Donnell said the location of the find was significant and could potentially alter the historical understanding of Bronze Age societies.

"The find of such items in Urswick has opened up new lines of inquiry to the extent of Bronze Age settlements this far to the north west," he said.

"It's clearly of some interest to archaeologists.

The items will now be handed over to the British Museum for valuation, while Barrow's Dock Museum has declared in interest in displaying them to the public in the long term. The finder and the landowner, whose identity is protected under the Treasure Act, will receive an equal split of any payout made after the Valuation Committee reach a conclusion.