Bronze Age Gold from Wales

The Michaelston-super-Ely hoard, Cardiff

In March 1987, a small hoard comprising a ribbed bronze socketed axe, an incomplete gold bracelet and a gold strip fragment, were discovered during metal-detecting. This small hoard dates to the Late Bronze Age (1000-800 BCE). The find was made in a field under pasture, beneath an old field bank, at a depth of just over 50cm. An archaeological investigation of the find-spot was undertaken, but yielded no further discoveries about the manner of burial.

The gold bracelet and strip fragment were found carefully inserted into the socket of the bronze axe.  The bracelet had been folded over three times, to fit into the socket. The bracelet is of hammered sheet design and once had coiled-ended terminals; a ribbon bracelet type characteristic of southern Britain. Gold bracelets have been found carefully inserted inside bronze socketed axes on three occasions in Wales, the other two being the Rossett Community hoard, Wrexham and the Llanarmon-yn-Iâl hoard, Denbighshire.

The two gold items were found to be treasure at a Treasure Trove Inquest held in Cardiff in May 1987 and then acquired for the national collection. The bronze socketed axe was secured through private purchase.