Bronze Age Gold from Wales

Bronze Age gold bracelet, armlet or anklet

This is a roughly circular armlet or bracelet, formed from a wide, rectangular strip of sheet gold with tapering and convex curved terminals. It has been hammered along each long edge to form a raised border that projects both externally and internally. The surface of the wide armlet band is plain and undecorated. The terminals are secured by a hook and pin fastening. The bracelet was buried with the terminals slightly apart and not hooked together.

Armlet from the Capel Isaf hoard. 1400-1275 BCE. This armlet would have been worn on the lower arm. We can’t be sure whether it was worn by a man or a woman. The hook and pin clasps were gently pressed into place to secure the armlet.

The form of the bracelets in this hoard is very unusual, with no parallels known at the time of discovery. Since discovery, another comparable example is now known from the Maesmelan hoard, Powys. Comparisons have been drawn with Irish ribbed sheet bracelets, though the Capel Isaf form may represent an insular production. This is supported further by the high silver content of one of the bracelets, which may be more in keeping with Welsh gold sources, rather than Irish sources.

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)

WA_SC 18.1

Collection Area

Archaeology & Numismatics

Item Number

76.7H/3

Find Information

Site Name: Capel Isaf House, Manordeilo

Collection Method: chance find
Date: 1975 / Sep

Notes: Hoard. Four gold armlets and one gold fragment were found in September 1975 near the town of Llandeilo while excavating a sewer trench. The objects were apparently “wrapped round each other” and were probably buried beneath a large glacial erratic slab. This slab may have acted as a marker in prehistory.

Acquisition

Treasure trove, 22/1/1976

Measurements

diameter / mm:66.0 x 56.0
thickness / mm:1.0
width / mm:29.0

Material

gold

Location

St Fagans Wales Is gallery : Gold

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