Hoards, axes, rings and dress pins: Archaeologists survey treasures from Bronze Age to Tudor period in Wales

By Ben Miller | 22 April 2015

Mystery coins, rammed axes, four-socketed pendant and inscribed gold ring all become treasures of Wales

A photo of a stack of silver and gold coins against a black background
17 mystery coins have been declared treasure in Wales© Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales
In December 2012, detectorist Roland Mumford found 17 coins in Wenvoe, a farming community in Glamorgan. Five of them were gold and seven silver, including four quarter-nobles of Edward III, who reigned between 1327 and 1377, and several principally groats – 4d pieces – from the time of Edward III, suggesting a hoard date between 1365 and 1370.

No obvious signs of settlement were discovered when archaeologists from the National Museum of Wales joined the landowner and finder to investigate the farmland, leaving experts to concede that the deposit or loss, amounting to two months’ wages in daily pay rates of the day, remains a mystery.

A photo of a large stone object against a black background
Part of the late Bronze Age hoard form Llancarfan© Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales
This is one of eight discoveries to have been newly declared treasure by the Coroner for Cardiff. Another, from at least 2,800 years ago, bears the spoils of two socketed axes – one complete, one fragmented. David Harrison detected these in Llancarfan in October 2013, finding the fractured axe wedged into the socket of its unbroken partner piece, both buried in the corner of a field.

This forcible ramming of artefacts became a widespread phenomenon in Britain towards the end of the late Bronze Age, probably taking place during social and ritual ceremonies in the deliberate destruction or symbolic annihilation of objects before their earthly placement.

Dr Mark Redknap, the Head of Collections and Research at National Museum Wales, says the finds are “significant”. “They are allowing us to slowly build up a detailed and previously poorly documented picture of personal adornment in late medieval, Tudor and early modern Wales,” he explains.

“Data on these objects and their find-spots are now enabling us to compare fashion and taste here with trends further afield.”

Highlights declared as treasure

A small gold pendant, dated to the first half of the 16th century and discovered in the Community of St Donats by David Hughes in November 2011.

A photo of a series of circular golden objects against a black background
© Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales
A 15th or early 16th century silver signet ring, found by Michael Gerry in Sully in August 2013.

A photo of a series of a circular silver ring against a black background
© Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales
A 16th or 17th century gold ring, inscribed on the inside with the words Such is my love and decorated with a floral pattern, found by David Hughes on land at Llantwit Major in April 2013.

A photo of a circular gold ring with an inscription on it set against a black background
© Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales
Fragments of a 15th or early 16th century silver devotional ring, found by Mark Lambert on land at St Athan in April 2013.

A photo of two silver bands against a black background
© Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales
Fragments of a silver badge in the form of a cockerel, bearing the motto Si deus nobiscum (If God is with us), found by Mr Mark Newbury at Pentyrch in September 2012.

A photo of an archaeological carving in the shape of a cockerel against a black setting
© Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales
A 17th century silver dress pin, found by Robert Lock and Joseph Cartwright on land at St Athan in August 2011.

A photo of a pair of stone archaeological objects against a black background
© Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales
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