In 2018, a lone metal detectorist made what’s widely considered to be one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 21st century. Scanning fields in the English county of Shropshire, the finder unearthed an impeccably well-preserved gold pendant that dates back to roughly 1000 BCE. With only one similar object ever found – and then subsequently lost – in England’s history, the ‘Shropshire bulla’ expresses the centrality of the Sun in Bronze Age mythology. With precise, repeating geometric patterns carved into glimmering gold, it’s also, quite simply, beautiful.
Inspired by the discovery, this short from the UK animator Samantha Moore, who consulted with archeologists and historians in the film’s creation, imagines the stories of the pendant’s owner and discoverer – separated by centuries, yet inextricably linked. In the present day, a metal detector hobbyist heads out to survey the countryside. In the ancient past, the piece is forged, engraved, handed to a young pregnant woman, and ultimately sacrificed as a spiritual offering. Wordlessly told, the parallel tales are united both by their flowing, hand-drawn animations and by the sense of wonder and shared humanity that ripples through them.
‘Treasure’ was commissioned by Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, with the support of BFI NETWORK, awarding funds from the National Lottery.