A REPLICA of a cauldron said to be one of the biggest Iron Age archaelogical finds in Europe has been unveiled in Chiseldon Museum.

The cauldron was one of 17 initially discovered in 2004 by treasure hunter Peter Hyams, who is a member of the Chiseldon Local History Group.

The actual cauldrons, which are too fragile to be kept in Chiseldon, were then excavated by professional archaeologists from the British Museum and Wessex Archaeology and are now at the British Museum.

But in 2011, to mark Chiseldon as the cauldrons’ original site, the history group commissioned local blacksmith Hector Cole, a master arrowsmith and archaeological ironworker with a global reputation for recreating archaeological items, to create a replica of the cauldron as it would have been when it was buried in the Iron Age, 800 BC – AD 43.

Hector, whose workshop is in Great Somerford near Chippenham, said: “It was exciting to be asked to do this by the Chiseldon Local History Group.

“I specialise in archaeological work so I don’t know what is going to come through my workshop and this was quite an exciting project.

“It’s such a major find. It took a long time because there was a lot of research work to do.”

The cauldron is made from bronze, is two feet across and has iron hanging chains at the side.

Local residents raised £2,000 to pay for the work and an anonymous benefactor who grew up in the village donated a generous amount to help have it made.

Sheila Passmore, 75, the local history group’s main researcher, said: “We raised all the money for the cauldron and Hector got to work on it.

“We are really chuffed with the replica. It is magnificent and beautifully made. The detail is immaculate.

“Hector has done a fantastic job.

“We had a couple of hundred people at the opening.”

But the unveiling of the replica is not the end of the project for the history group.

Sheila added: “We want to get three pop-up screens to show a panorama, because other museums are going to want to have it on display and so we thought if we got something like that it would have its own setting.”

The replica Iron Age cauldron is being stored in safety over the winter and next year will take up permanent residence in themuseum. For more information about the work of the Chiseldon Local History Group and the Chiseldon Museum visit the website at www.chiseldonlhg.

org.uk or call 01793 740784.