Bronze Age Gold from Wales

The Llanarmon-yn-Iâl hoard, Denbighshire

This is a Late Bronze Age hoard (1000-800 BCE), comprising two gold bracelets, a gold finger-ingot, two gold link fragments and a faceted bronze socketed axe. Remarkably, the gold objects were found carefully buried inside the socket of the axe and the bracelets were tightly coiled into small spirals. Small galena or lead ore fragments were also observed in the socket of the axe, but these were discarded by the finder.

The discovery was made in July 1982, when a geology student found the hoard lying exposed on a natural rock ledge. This formed part of a limestone outcrop known as Craig-yr-Wolf. The find-spot was investigated, but no further discoveries were made. The gold objects were declared and purchased as treasure at a Treasure Trove Inquest held in Ruthin in September 1982. The bronze axe was secured through private purchase.

In Wales, gold bracelets have been found carefully inserted inside bronze socketed axes on three occasions, the other two being the Rossett Community hoard, Wrexham and the Michaelston-super-Ely hoard, Cardiff. Further examples are known from Ireland and Cornwall, indicating a repeating and distinctive kind of hoard burial in these western metals producing zones.