Bronze Age Gold from Wales

Late Bronze Age gold penannular lock ring

This is a small, hollow, penannular ring of sheet gold with a triangular shaped cross-section. It is formed of two conical plates, joined base-to-base, to create a biconical form. The outer edge is bound by a round-sectioned wire, which has been soldered to the plates. The ring has a central, circular opening, which was lined by a third sheet. This was tube shaped, though discontinuous, with a gap in the vertical plane for the slot. This ring is decorated with 23 incised fine circular and concentric lines, with a spacing of three to a millimetre.

Eight lock-rings are currently known from Wales, though are typically considered an Irish ornament form. Other Welsh examples have been found in the hoards from Gaerwen (Isle of Anglesey) and Rossett 2 (Wrexham), as well as a single find from Newport (Pembrokeshire). Currently, around 75 examples are known from Britain, Ireland and France.

Project Title: Gold in Britain’s auriferous regions, 2450-800 BC: towards a coherent Research Framework and Strategy. Status: Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Network Grant funded project (2018-2019)


Collection Area

Archaeology & Numismatics

Item Number


Find Information

Site Name: Pigeon's Cave, Great Ormes Head

Collection Method: chance find
Date: 1898

Notes: Hoard. Two gold lock-rings were found with a bronze palstave and a bronze socketed implement near the Pigeon’s Cave on the Great Orme in 1898. The hoard was supposedly found by two youths amongst the debris at the back of a large loose rock. The account of discovery is recorded by Savory (1958, 56-57) following a newspaper report from 1898 and the exact relationship of the hoard to Pigeon’s Cave is unclear. The Pigeon’s Cave is situated near the sea, and it is unlikely the hoard was associated with a burial.


Bequest, 29/3/1954


external diameter / mm:31.2
internal diameter / mm:14.5
maximum thickness / mm:11.2
width / mm:3.0 (of gap)




St Fagans Life Is gallery : Bronze Age and Iron Age Adornment

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