Bronze Age Gold from Wales

Bronze Age gold ingot

This is a small, slender bar of gold with a roughly rounded, uneven section. The bar tapers more to one end than the other and is heavily pitted on one face. This is an example of a finger ingot, a recognised Bronze Age form of smelted bar and source of gold metal, from which finished gold artefacts could be worked.

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: Craig-yr-Wolf, Llanarmon-yn-Iâl

Collection Method: chance find
Date: 1982 / Jul / 14

Notes: Hoard. A socketed axe containing four gold objects in five pieces was found in July 1982 lying on a natural rock ledge, which had been exposed by soil erosion. The ledge formed part of a west-facing limestone outcrop known as Craig-yr-Wolf. The bracelets were tightly coiled separately into small spirals and one piece of a small link was found on one of the bracelets. A joining fragment of the link and a small gold ingot were also found loose in the axe socket. The finder also reported having found small fragments of lead ore in the soil in the socket but discarded them. Archaeological excavation of the remaining soil deposit resulted in no new finds or information. Association of gold objects inside copper alloy (bronze) socketed axes is now known for three Late Bronze Age hoards in Wales, the other two being from Rossett, Wrexham, and Michaelston-super-Ely, Cardiff. The Michaelston-super-Ely hoard also contained a coiled gold bracelet. The metallurgical analysis of the gold objects indicates that the finger ingot and two bracelets in the Llanarmon-yn-Iâl hoard may have originated from the same batch of metal, with differences in composition resulting from poor mixing while casting. The weight of the ingot is suggestive that it represents a ‘blank’ for producing another bracelet.


Treasure trove, 28/10/1982


(): length / mm:50.5
(): width / mm:8.0
(): thickness / mm:7.9
(): weight / g:28.6




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