The Watford Observer has teamed up with Watford Museum and its curator Sarah Priestley to take a journey back to the town’s past through items or places of historical significance.

The eighth item in ‘a history of Watford in 50 objects' is one of the best travelled artefacts in the museum's collection - and a potentially unique one.

Sarah said: "Discovered in the Holywell area in 1960, this damaged bowl was found with a Bronze Age hoard.

"It was assessed by archaeological experts at the time, who were baffled by the rivet decoration and presence of solder that you would not expect with a bowl from the British Bronze Age.

"They presumed the bowl was not part of the original hoard at all but possibly a Victorian lampshade.

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"When the bowl was reassessed in 2014, it was realised that it was indeed not British Bronze Age – in fact it is Phoenician.

"The bowl was taken to one of the world’s leading archaeological research museums, the Römish-Germanisches Zentralmuseum (RGZM), in our Twin Town Mainz in Germany.

Hillingdon Times:

Photo: David Parker

"Research and a replica of the bowl was made and further testing and research is being undertaken by archaeologists from across Europe into what could be a unique find.

"It gives rare evidence that there was at least indirect contact between Phoenicia and Prehistoric Britain, and that it was found in Watford is amazing.

"How the bowl came to be in Watford is a mystery but it is believed to have been collected, along with the rest of the hoard, as scrap metal to be reused."

Watford Museum has reopened to the public. You can visit on Saturdays at present with pre-booking essential. Housed in the former Benskins Mansion, the Grade II listed building holds treasures of Watford history from Cassiobury to printing to Watford Football Club. To find out more, visit