Nine medieval and post-medieval objects have been declared as treasure by the Assistant Coroner of South Wales Central.
The artefacts, dating from the 9th-17th century AD, all once belonged to wealthy members of Welsh society. They were unearthed by metal detectorists in Powys and Vale of Glamorgan.
One of the objects is a gold ‘memento mori’ ring which dates to c. AD 1550-1650. Its flat bezel is engraved with a ‘death’s head’ and inlaid with traces of white enamel. The Latin inscription encircling the skull reads ‘+ Memento Mori’, which translates as ‘remember you must die’.
‘This is a rare example of a Tudor or early Stuart “memento mori” ring with a clear Welsh provenance,’ said Dr Mark Redknapp, Deputy Head of Collections and Research at the National Museum Wales. ‘Its sentiment reflects the high mortality of the period, the motif and inscription acknowledging the brevity and vanities of life. This discovery increases our knowledge of attitudes to death in early modern Wales.’
Metal detectorists in Powys also discovered a 9th-century Anglo-Saxon silver double-hooked fastener, decorated with debased zoomorphic motifs. The first fastener of this style to be found in Wales, it reflects the status of the original owner and, according to Dr Redknapp, ‘provides new evidence for the exposure of Anglo-Saxon styles within the early Welsh kingdoms, and of the melting-pot of styles and influences from which Welsh identity was to emerge’.
Among the other objects declared treasure is a hoard of three medieval gold coins minted AD 1327-1399, and a cache of five Tudor silver coins, three of which bear the portrait of Henry VIII.
The other artefacts include a late medieval silver-gilt ring, a silver annular brooch, and a silver bar-mount, as well as a post-medieval gold posy ring, and a 17th-century hoard of three gold coins.