Press Releases

Gold jewellery tells new tales

Treasure uncovered during archaeological dig near Llanmaes

A piece of gold, probably once covering a hair-ring and a gold strip belonging to an armlet were declared treasure by H. M. Coroner for Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan today (1 April 2009).

The so called 'hair ring', examples of which have been found across the UK, Ireland and parts of Europe, dates back to the Late Bronze Age (1150-800 BC) and may also have been worn as an earring. The gold strip, found in an earlier layer nearby, was probably part of a gold bracelet worn on the arm in the Middle Bronze Age (1600 - 1400BC).

Both objects were discovered during archaeological excavations at Llanmaes near Llantwit Major in the Vale of Glamorgan in July 2008. The research project, funded by Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales has so far revealed a Bronze and Iron Age settlement and an Iron Age midden or rubbish mound. This has revealed evidence for prehistoric feasting, including cauldrons, many pig bones, bronze axes and pottery vessels.

Adam Gwilt, Curator of the Bronze Age Collections at Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales said:

"Our fieldwork at Llanmaes is generating many new stories about prehistoric life and death in this part of Wales.

"These small gold fragments help us build up a picture of the farming and early metal-working people, who once lived at this place. It is rare for gold ornaments, such as these, to be found on Bronze Age settlements."

A silver gilt ring found at Colwinston, Vale of Glamorgan in August 2008 was also pronounced treasure. The decorative style and form of the ring means it probably dates to the period AD 1500 - 50. Similar examples with zig-zag rather than parallel diagonal banding have been found at Buckingham, Buckinghamshire and onboard the Mary Rose, lost in the Solent in 1545. And finally, a gold ingot from St Donats resembling a large button. Of Late Iron Age date, it was probably formed by melting down seven or eight Celtic coins.

Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales will seek to acquire these objects following their independent valuation.

Entry to National Museum Cardiff where the objects will be on display in the future is free thanks to the support of the Welsh Assembly Government.

Amgueddfa Cymru operates seven national museums across Wales. These are 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.


For further information, images or interview opportunities, please contact Catrin Mears, Communications Officer, Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales on (029) 2057 3185 / 07920 027067 or email