Treasure buried 3,000 years ago found in Pontypridd

Five finds dating from the Bronze Age to Medieval times, found by metal detectors in South Wales, have been declared treasures.

At a hearing held at Pontypridd Coroner’s Court on Monday, 10 January, the Assistant Coroner for South Wales Central, Rachel Knight, declared several items to be deemed treasures.

All objects were discovered by metal detectorists and include a Bronze Age tomb group, a Bronze Age hoard, and medieval and mid-medieval personal items and dress fittings.

A collection of bronze objects that date back to the Late Bronze Age were found by Andrew Cooney while he was tracing metal on rough pasture in Pontypridd, Ronda Sinon Taff, on January 9, 2019.

Included in the hoard were a bronze socket knife, three bronze socket axes with ribbed decorations, a blade piece from a tapered bronze socket ax, a pulstave blade piece and a copper ingot.

The objects were buried in a swamp about 3,000 years ago – a practice that has been observed in northwestern Europe during the Bronze Age.

This burial group of objects may have been intended as a gift to the gods living in these wetland locations.

The Pontypridd Museum is expected to acquire the hoard following its independent evaluation by the Treasure Valuation Committee.

Councilor Linda Davies, chair of Pontypridd Town Council’s Museum and Regeneration Committee, said: “The potential acquisition of this late Bronze Age material is a very exciting opportunity for the Pontypridd Museum.

“This will be the first time the museum has been able to acquire the treasure and will also be the first addition of pre-1756 archaeological material from the area to our collection.

“The items will help shed light on a time in the past of an area that has hitherto been under-represented in collections or research.

“This is an opportunity for us to expand the narrative into the city’s pre-industrial past and examine the lives of the people who lived here thousands of years ago.”

A group of artifacts along with a Bronze Age tomb was found by Tom Haines, while metal was unearthed in an area in Powis, the Tallybont-on-Usk community.

A group of artifacts along with a Bronze Age grave was also found by Tom Haines while metal was unearthed on October 26, 2016, in an area in Powis, the Tallybont-on-Usk community.

The four artifacts include a bronze knife, a bronze awl, a flint knife and a ceramic urn containing the cremation burial.

Upon cremation of the knife and human bone fragments, the explorer reported the discovery to the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales (PAS Cymru).

Staff at the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust were able to conduct a follow-up archaeological investigation at the discovery site in November 2016 with the help of the explorer.

Archaeological investigations have revealed a crematory burial placed in the urn, which is still buried in the ground, and bronze loafers and flint knives were also discovered at this time.

The artifacts have been identified as dating to the Early Bronze Age and the burial, an adult male, has been radiocarbon dated to about 1700 BC or 3,700 years ago.

Following its independent appraisal by the Treasure Valuation Committee, and the Gere Museum, Brecon hopes to obtain this treasure for its public collection.

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Some of the artifacts include a bronze knife, a bronze awl, a flint knife and a ceramic urn in which the crematorium is buried.

Nigel Blackmore, Senior Curator and Gere Museum, Brecon, said: , It is a well-preserved elderly male burial with various grave goods, which would significantly add to our picture of the life and death of the early Bronze Age at Powis.

“We are very pleased to be able to acquire this montage, which in turn will provide our visitors and the local community with free access to its performance and interpretation at Y Ger.”

Adam Gwilt, chief curator of prehistoric times Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, said: “The discovery of a prehistoric bronze knife and a bar buried together has ensured that this tomb group is a treasure trove, although we cannot and more, being able to retrieve almost complete cremation within a pottery burial vessel called a collared urn.

“The awl, a small and delicate object, specially selected for burial and possibly a tool used for tattooing, was a possible common form of body ornamentation at this time.

“It is only through the responsible actions of the discoverer, in reporting the find and leaving undisturbed objects in the ground for archaeologists to carefully uncover, has it been possible to reveal the full story associated with this burial.”

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Meanwhile, a matching pair of Tudor silver-gilt dress-hooks are discovered in neighboring areas by Jeff Nichols and Brian Reynolds during a metal-detecting rally in Llanharn, Ronda Sinon Taff on May 5, 2019.

These little costume items feature an ornate three-petal design with three decorated shrapnel, each with a hook attached to their back.

Amgueddfa Cymru – The National Museum of Wales hopes to receive this pair of treasures after their independent assessment by the Treasury Appraisal Committee.

Dr Mark Redknapp, Deputy Head of Archaeological Collections and Research, Amgueda Cymru – National Museum Wales, said: “It was only with the introduction of the Treasure Act 1996 that Tudor dress fittings such as the silver gilt dress-hook from Llanharn (case 19.31), 19.37) became increasingly recognized from Wales.

“This matching pair of dress hooks is popular in the sixteenth century as an accessory used to attach the fronts of long dresses. They are important because such items are found as separate finds, such as Glamorgan found at Landau, Vale and of Lanhannock, Monmouthshire.

“The prompt reporting of Llanharan dress hooks by their discoverers has added new evidence to the personal identity expressed through fashionable dress in Tudor Wales.”

A medieval silver annular brooch was also discovered on June 22, 2019 by Keith Thomas during metal detection in an area in the Penlin Community, Well of Glamorgan.

The small circular brooch with a decorated pin dates back to the thirteenth or early fourteenth century.

These small personal dress items were used to secure items of clothing. Similar examples have been reported in recent years as treasures from across Wales.

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