A group of divers have discovered a submerged hoard of Bronze Age artefacts off Salcombe, Devon. The find includes swords and rapiers, palstave axe heads, an adze, a cauldron handle, and a gold bracelet. The artefacts have been reported to English Heritage and declared to the Receiver of Wreck at the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, as it is believed that these relics come from an ancient shipwreck. The artefacts are currently being studied at the British Museum, which also holds the finds from the nearby 'Moor Sands' Bronze Age wreck site. The South West Maritime Archaeology Group (SWMAG) had been diving under licence from the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, on the shipwreck known as the Salcombe Cannon site last summer, (where they discovered a hoard of gold coins in 1995), when they found evidence of a far older wreck. The new site falls within the protected area of the Salcombe Cannon shipwreck site, which is designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973. This means that this area is already protected from unauthorised and illegal diving. The finds from 'Moor Sands' and the new site belong to exactly the same phase of the Bronze Age, dating to around the 13th century BC, and archaeologists are wondering if they all came from the same vessel. The find is dominated by the blades of swords and rapiers, but axes, tools and ornaments are also present. The swords are amongst the earliest found in north-west Europe. Some of the objects are of north French origin and are types which are rare in this country. The Bronze Age was a time of considerable trade in metals, right across Europe but it is exceptional to find material which has actually been caught in transit. Sophia Exelby, the Receiver of Wreck said, "This is a very exciting find which shows the breadth of information which is available from shipwreck sites. We are now working to ensure that these unusual artefacts are given a good home, where their historical value can be appreciated by everyone." Stuart Needham, Curator of European Bronze Age collections at the British Museum said: "The evidence from Salcombe and other rare sites, such as that at Langdon Bay, help us to build up a picture of object movements, the organisation of trade and the character of seafaring." A spokesperson for the SWMAG said: "this exciting new discovery has really been a team effort and we are now working with the Receiver of Wreck and English Heritage to ensure that these important artefacts are put on permanent display to the public." English Heritage and SWMAG are planning a research-led field season in 2005 in order to try to answer some of the questions about the site which this remarkable collection of artefacts has raised.