“Significant” hoard of Bronze Age treasure discovered by metal detectorists in Wales

Medievel artifacts dating as far back as the Bronze Age were declared treasure by the Welsh government this week. 

The items, which were found between 2020 and 2022, include a hoard of bronze artifacts such as axes, spearheads, rings and a sword scabbard. The items were discovered by Dr. Peter Anning and Alex Evans in Feb. 2021 in an empty field in Wales where drainage work had been done. The items were dated between 1000 and 800 B.C., and it’s likely that they were deliberately buried in the ground by a local community in a ritual ceremony, Wales’ Amgueddfa Cymru museum said in a news release

“This collection of mostly small artefact fragments offers a fascinating glimpse into the rich tapestry of life in Late Bronze Age Cardiff,” said Charles Griffiths, a researcher at the museum affiliated with the University of Reading. “Through these objects, we gain insight into the array of connections with distant communities, which would have helped people to thrive in this part of Cardiff, around 3000 years ago.” 

Late Bronze Age hoard.

Amgueddfa Cymru Museum

Once the hoard is evaluated by the nation’s Treasure Valuation Committee, the museum said it is interested in acquiring the items. Adam Gwilt, the principal curator of prehistory at the museum, called the hoard a “significant” find that “adds to the bigger regional picture” of the culture and area during the Bronze Age. 

Anning also discovered two of the other items that were declared treasures. One, a Roman silver ring fragment, he found in April 2020 while metal detecting. In February 2022, Anning found a medieval silver brooch pin in the same area, again with a metal detector. That pin dates to the 13th or 14th century, the museum said, and the items may be acquired by Wales’ Cowbridge & District Museum.

A silver finger-ring fragment.

Amgueddfa Cymru Museum

“I’m not quite sure how I ended up with [so] many treasure cases in a such a small period of time!” Anning said in a statement. “I’m glad that the finds are being acquired by Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales and Cowbridge Museum and hope that both the public and museums will benefit from them being in their respective collections.”

A second silver ring fragment was found in November 2022, when Richard Murton was using a metal detector in a field in Powys, Wales. This ring is from the first or second century, the museum said, and likely originally held a semi-precious stone or glass setting. The Powysland Museum and Welshpool Library have expressed interest in acquiring the ring. 

Another Roman silver finger-ring fragment.

Amgueddfa Cymru Museum

Similar treasures were found in Wales earlier this year. Two hoards of coins found by metal detectors in 2018 wound up being buried Roman treasures, the Amgueddfa Cymru said earlier this year

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