Our knowledge of the Belgian Bronze Age is still very partial. Most of the bronze objects of this period — and I am not the only one to say they are important — remain unpublished. The reason for this is to be found in the fact that a great many bronzes have been, or still are, part of private collections. Objects fundamental to our understanding of Bronze Age economics have remained inaccessible for years; moreover, some of these, probably in consequence of this regrettable situation, have been stigmatised by this or that scholar's doubts about their authenticity. It is true that they have been traded by not always very scrupulous dealers.
Many scholars have been discouraged by the doubtful quality of part of the material, but too many scholars have therefore lost interest in its totality. A few important hoards, though in public collections, have thus been neglected, and remained unpublished for more than a century (Warmenbol forthcoming a and b). The largest collections, those of Edouard Bernays (Antwerp), George Hasse (Antwerp), J. Moens (Ghent) and J. Maertens de Noordhout (Ghent), were all greatly expanded through the acquisition of objects found during the extensive dredging carried out in the 1910s and 1920s, mainly in the Schelde, but also in other rivers. Great quantities of bronzes were found at places such as Melle, Wetteren, Wichelen and Schoonaarde. All these objects got on the market, and assuredly some dealers improved their stocks by enriching them with objects certainly found elsewhere.