Three recent finds in Wales have been declared Treasure by the Assistant Coroner for Gwent, Naomi Rees.
Two of the finds were Bronze Age hoards, both discovered in Monmouthshire, adding to our knowledge of the purpose and distribution of such hoards in the area. The first hoard was found by a metal-detectorist in Monmouth Community between June 2016 and January 2017. Excavation of the hoard revealed two fragments of a bronze socketed knife, two bronze socketed axes with rib decoration on their faces, and a blade fragment from another bronze socketed axe. Analysis of the weapons suggests that they were buried together around 1000-800 BC. Monmouth Museum hopes to acquire this hoard.
The second hoard also comprised a number of bronze tools, including two socketed axes with rib decoration, a fragment of a plain socketed axe, a winged axe fragment, and a casting jet. It was found in May 2017 by a metal-detectorist in Llanover Community, with Abergavenny Museum hoping to acquire the find.
Commenting on the importance of these two hoards, Anne Rainsbury, Monmouthshire Museums Curator, said: ‘Bronze Age hoards are one of the many mysteries from prehistory, and there are fascinating theories about why people may have deliberately buried collections of broken, as well as whole, bronze axes and other tools. The locations of these hoards are being carefully mapped to provide another piece of information in this jigsaw, so these finds are really important.’
The last object that was recently declared Treasure was a decorative brooch inlaid with niello – a black metallic alloy used to fill engravings – and dating to the 13th or 14th century. It was discovered in January 2019 in Langstone Community, Newport.
Explaining the significance of the brooch, Dr Mark Redknap, Deputy Head of Archaeology Collections and Research, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, said: ‘Worn primarily as dress-fasteners, this particular brooch form has a curved cross-bar to prevent the snagging of textile. This new discovery adds to our understanding of its widespread circulation within medieval Wales, similar examples having been discovered at Abergavenny, as well as further afield in the Vale of Glamorgan, Flintshire, Breconshire, and on Anglesey.’ Once the Treasure valuation is complete, the Newport Museum & Art Gallery hopes to acquire the brooch.