Bronze Age Gold from Wales

Middle Bronze Age bone bead

Fragment of a cylindrical bead with longitudinal perforation. The bead has been burnt black, possibly during the cremation or perhaps as a deliberate decorative effect. The exterior surface is decorated with closely spaced incised linear grooves running parallel with the length of the cylinder. Four evenyl spaced, deeper incisions are apparent in a band 1.8mm in width, while four faint lines are also visible but are more dispersed.

This is a small strip of gold, which has been rolled over to form a cylinder with an oval shaped cross-section. The ends touch, but do not overlap. One side has a tapering edge and a small excess projecting strip, whose inner margin is defined by a parallel linear groove. This indicates the edge was inexpertly cut with a blade.

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: Llanmaes, Llantwit Major

Grid Reference: SS 9820 6958
Collection Method: excavation
Date: 2005 / June - July

Notes: Burial. Archaeological excavation of a cremation burial was undertaken in 2005, from which prehistoric pottery, cremated human bone, worked flint and copper alloy (bronze) fragments were recovered. A gold bead, a decorated bone bead and small pottery fragments were found during subsequent sieving of the soil. The pit was located beside the western edge of an Iron Age midden and cut into the natural limestone bedrock. The pit was itself cut into by a post-hole belonging to a Bronze Age timber roundhouse, around 6-7m in diameter, therefore clearly showing the pit to be stratigraphically earlier than the building. The pit was located beside and beneath the south east facing porched entrance of the roundhouse. The association of the bead with pottery stylistically datable to the Middle Bronze Age give an indication for the date of the bead. The Middle Bronze Age post hole that cut into the cremation pit was radiocarbon dated to approximately 1300-1100 BC, meaning the cremation must be earlier than this.


Donation, 12/8/2008


length / mm:9.6
width / mm:6.2
thickness / mm:2.5




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