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Llyn Cerrig Bach treasures to be exhibited at Oriel Ynys Mon

The many remarkable artefacts discovered at Llyn Cerrig Bach near Valley on Anglesey 70 years ago will be exhibited at Oriel Ynys Môn this summer, thanks to a partnership between Amgueddfa Cymru and the Council’s Museums, Culture and Archives service.

Llyn Cerrig Bach is a small lake in north-west Anglesey, near Valley.

The spectacular group of Iron Age artefacts was uncovered by head groundsman W.O. Roberts and his fellow workmen as they dredged the lake in preparation for the extension of the runway at RAF Valley in 1942, and they have fascinated archaeologists ever since.


The overall collection of around 170 objects comprises a wide range of objects, including fragments of cauldrons, a crescentic-shaped plaque with Celtic Art decoration and part of an ancient trumpet or war horn.

Also represented are many horse harness fittings and parts of chariots, used in war and for display. A significant collection of weaponry was also recovered, including a magnificent decorated shield-boss, iron swords and spearheads. Iron bars, probably used as traded raw materials, and a range of iron tools also provide insight into the skills of the blacksmith and objects in everyday use during the Iron Age. A range of twenty-six highlight objects will be displayed in this partnership exhibition.


The first object to be found was a heavy iron gang chain, used for slaves. This was not immediately identified as an ancient artefact, and was used as a tow-chain for tractors to pull trucks that were bogged down in the mud. Despite being around 2,000 years old, the chain performed this task remarkably well. Once the chain was identified as an ancient artefact, a search of the immediate area produced a number of other objects.


Under the direction of Sir Cyril Fox, then director of Amgueddfa Cymru, the artefacts were taken to the National Museum in Cardiff, for cataloguing, conservation and study. Through many hours of research and study of the artefacts, over the years, the experts have gained greater knowledge and understanding of life in the distant past.


Dr Mark Redknap, Amgueddfa Cymru's Acting Keeper of Archaeology & Numismatics, said,

“Our long-term relationship with Oriel Ynys Môn includes excellent partnership work in presenting and interpreting the rich archaeology of the region, and we are delighted that this relationship is strengthened further with the loan of finds from the Llyn Cerrig Bach hoard to the museum over the summer. This is a wonderful opportunity for local people as well as visitors to learn more about their island’s unique history through this remarkable discovery. It includes, for example, a crescentic plaque widely recognised to be of profound ‘dynamic character and significance’ for understanding Early Celtic art in Britain.

“Amgueddfa Cymru is proud of its commitment to making the national collections as widely available as possible and works extremely closely with a range of local museums and other partners to ensure Wales’s heritage is as accessible to as possible to everyone.

The artefacts from Llyn Cerrig Bach are of great importance, both in a local and national context, and of international significance to our understanding of the development of Iron Age art styles and metalworking, including weaponry, horse gear and tools.”

Pat West, Principal Officer - Museums, Culture and Archives, Isle of Anglesey County Council, said: “The partnership between Oriel Ynys Môn and Amgueddfa Cymru is a long and constructive one.

It’s a pleasure and a privilege to be working in co-operation on this unique exhibition.”

Gwilym O. Jones, Chairman and local Councillor for the ward where the treasures were found, Llanfair-yn-Neubwll, said, “I am very pleased to learn that the treasures of Llyn Cerrig Bach will be returning to Anglesey for this very special exhibition at Oriel Ynys Môn. As the county councillor for this area, I have been a long-time supporter of bringing these precious artefacts back to Anglesey.  They will be here until November, and I would encourage the people of Anglesey to take this opportunity to gain an insight into our fascinating ancient history.”


Huw Lewis, Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage said: “The Llyn Cerrig Bach hoard is of huge importance to Angelsey and to the rest of Wales. I am delighted that the partnership between Amgueddfa Cymru and the Council has enabled our national collections to be displayed in Anglesey this summer. The Welsh Government has recently provided £20,000 in funding towards Oriel Ynys Môn for this exhibition through the CyMAL grants scheme.”


The exhibition will take place at Oriel Ynys Môn between 14 July and 11 November 2012.