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Treasure found in Anglesey

Late Bronze Age artefacts found in Cwm Cadnant Community declared as treasure

A Late Bronze Age hoard of four gold and copper artefacts, which are thought to be dated to around 1000-800 BC, or 3,000-2,800 years ago, have yesterday (25th February 2015) been declared treasure by H.M. Coroner for North West Wales.

The hoard, including a gold penannular ring and three fragments of copper ingot, were discovered in the Community of Cwm Cadnant in May and June 2013 by Mr. Philip Cooper.

The artefacts were discovered a few metres apart from each other while Mr. Cooper was metal detecting on farm land. The artefacts, once buried all together as a hoard group, had been disturbed and probably became separated through more recent farming activity.

The discovery was first reported to Ian Jones, curator at Oriel Ynys Môn, Llangefni and Roland Flook curatorial archaeologist at Gwynedd Archaeological Trust and was subsequently reported on by museum archaeologists at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales.

The gold ring has striped decoration, formed by applying a silver strip in spiral fashion around the curved gold bar. The ring has flat-ended terminals, with a gap between them. It may be identified as an example of small Bronze Age adornment known as a hair-ring, although it is possible it was used as an ear-ring, the whole bar passing through a hole in the ear lobe.  One side of the ring is heavily worn through use by its original owner.

Hair-rings are discovered in significant numbers across Ireland and England, with scatters extending across Scotland, France, Belgium and The Netherlands. In north-west Wales, similar examples have been found at Trearddur, Anglesey and Graianog, Gwynedd.

Copper and bronze ingots of plano-convex or cake form are commonly buried within Late Bronze Age hoards. They were transported and exchanged by sea and functioned as the raw material to cast bronze tools and weapons.

The hoard will be acquired by Oriel Ynys Môn following its independent valuation, using funding secured via the Collecting Cultures stream of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Adam Gwilt, Principal Curator for Prehistory at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales said:

“This gold hair-ring is finely made and was once worn by a man or woman of some standing within their community. It could have been made of gold from Wales or Ireland. The copper ingot fragments are an important association with the ring. It would be interesting to know whether they were transported and exchanged over a long distance by sea, or perhaps smelted from local ores mined at Parys Mountain or The Great Orme. ”

Ian Jones, Curatorial Officer at Oriel Ynys Môn, Llangefni said:

“These exciting locally found treasures will enrich our existing collections, and offer our visitors an opportunity to see a rare example of a fine decorative item that was last worn during the Bronze Age. The finds also highlight the value of metals such as gold, copper and bronze as trading and usable commodities.

We are delighted to be able to work with Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum of Wales and the Gwynedd Archaeological Trust and to be able to access funds via the Saving Treasures, Telling Stories project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. We are also grateful to the finder and the landowner for their cooperation.”

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales operates seven museums across Wales National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans National History Museum, National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon, Big Pit National Coal Museum, Blaenafon, National Wool Museum, Dre-fach Felindre, National Slate Museum, Llanberis and the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.  

Entry to National Museum Wales museums is free, thanks to the support of the Welsh Government. 

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Notes to Editors:

1. The Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales (PAS Cymru) is a mechanism to record and publish archaeological finds made by members of the public. It has proved a highly effective means of capturing vital archaeological information, while engaging with non-traditional museum audiences and communities.

2. Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, in partnership with PAS Cymru and The Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales (The FED), has recently received a confirmed grant of £349,000 from the Collecting Cultures stream of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

For 5 years from January 2015 – December 2019, the project Saving Treasures, Telling Stories will ensure a range of treasure and non-treasure artefacts can be purchased by accredited local and national museums in Wales. The artefacts purchased will date from the Stone Age to the seventeenth-century AD.

A three year programme of Community Archaeology Projects will be delivered across Wales, working with local museums, metal-detecting clubs, local communities and target audiences.

A distinctive website will be developed for PAS Cymru and hosted on the Amgueddfa Cymru website. This will also become the focus for up-to-the-minute information about treasure and non-treasure finds reported across Wales each year. Through the projects, archaeological collecting networks will be set up and a range of training, skill-sharing, bursaries and volunteering opportunities will be delivered.