The Snowdon Bowl

The Snowdon Bowl
The Snowdon Bowl
  • The Snowdon bowl was discovered by chance in 1974, by two research students studying plant biology at the University of Wales, Bangor.
  • This fragment of a bronze bowl was found on a scree-slope below Craig Cwm Beudy Mawr, on the north-east side of Snowdon. It is possible that it was originally buried higher up the mountainside.
  • This was probably a religious offering rather than an accidental loss. Such a high status object may have been a gift to a god or goddess.
  • Interpreting the original use of this bowl is difficult. Other bowls from Britain suggest that they were used for wine drinking or for washing hands during feasts and as part of religious ceremonies.
  • Comparison with bronze bowls from rich cremation burials in the south-east of England suggests a Late Iron Age date (c. 0-AD50).
  • The design on the handle of the Snowdon bowl looks like an animal's head, sometimes interpreted as a cat. The use of red enamelling (glass) as a decorative technique is characteristic of the late La Tène art-style.
  • Recent research by staff at the National Museum Cardiff has shown that the red colour in this enamel is produced by copper oxide crystals suspended in the glass. This red colour can only be achieved under carefully controlled conditions, showing that Iron Age metal workers were very skilled at their work.
  • The Snowdon bowl is about the size of a fruit bowl and weighs 203.4g. It measures 150mm in diameter and is less than 1mm in thickness. The length of the remaining handle is 77mm.