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Author Topic: Unearthed rings offer glimpse of medieval Wales and its fashions  (Read 1506 times)
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« on: November 28, 2008, 10:22:50 AM »

The Western Mail - 16 May 2008 - Sarah Miloudi

A PAIR of unearthed gold and silver rings give crucial clues to the fashions of medieval Wales, historians said yesterday. The two decorative rings were among an array of artefacts handed over yesterday to the National Museum of Wales.

The rings-one dating back to the 12th century and made of gold and rose quartz, and the other made of silver and in a style typical of the 13th century - are thought to provide historians with a unique glimpse into the fashions popular in medieval Wales. Both pieces were discovered last year by members of the public using metal detectors. The first was unearthed in Rhoose, close to Barry, on September 12, while the second ring was discovered on July 3 in Llanfair, Vale of Glamorgan.

Under the Treasure Act 1996, all items discovered and which date back more than300 years or are made of more than 10% silver, must be considered before an inquest and may be seized and handed to a museum for preservation and safekeeping. The rings were among 10 items found by members of the public in the Cardiff andVale of Glamorgan area - all of which were declared "treasure" by coronerMary Elizabeth Hassell at an inquest in Cardiff Coroner's Court.

Dr Mark Redknap, medievalist and a curator at the National Museum of Wales, attended the inquest and said: "Objects from the museum's archaeology collection, such as those which form the National Museum in Cardiff's new Origins: In Search of Early Wales exhibition, tell the tale of how people used to live in Wales. These decorative rings are a valuable addition to this story, uncovering information about fashion, style and other aspects of life in medieval Wales."

Other items presented at yesterday's inquest included: A silver gilt finger ring with cabochon garnet dating back to the 13th century, found in a farm field in Llancarfan; a post-medieval silver gilt dress loop; an Iron Age terret, harness ring, discovered in Cowbridge; a fragment from a silver gilt devotional ring thought to date back to the 15th century, which was found in Penllyn; and five 15th century silver groats of Henry V and VI, discovered in Llantwit Major.

Dr Redknap said he regarded all of the artefacts as being "of interest" - some for their uniqueness, but others for the stories they told. He said it was likely the original owner of the silver dress loop was a "woman of means" who came from a wealthy family, and would have used it to hold up the hem of her dress while she was walking. "Her dress was probably very sumptuous, and this would pull up its bottom and hold it in a nice fashion," he said.

The dress loop was foundin a ploughed field in Llancarfan, Vale of Glamorgan. Dr Redknap said other items, such as a pair of 15th century medieval groats, showed "ingenuity" and a possible use of recycling at an early date in Wales.

He said the coins-worth four old pence - appeared to have been fashioned into a brooch by removing their centres and attaching a pin onto the face of one coin. Dr Redknap said: "After examining the brooch, we decided it had been coins turned into an artefact by filing away the centre and removing the King's portrait. It is made of fine silver which was typical for coins at the time, but the outer edge of the coin was removed so it was reduced in size and so it resembled a medieval brooch."

Most of the artefacts were found underground in ploughed fields and farm fields in pasture, and are thought to have been lost rather than deliberately deposited in the earth by their original owners. The artefacts will remain at the National Museum of Wales while they are valued by the Independent Valuations Committee - a committee which sits at the British Museum in London. Adate has not been set for the valuations hearing, and depending on its outcome. The museum may pursue acquisition of the objects so they can officially be displayed as part of its collections.

There comes a time in every rightly constructed boys life when he has a raging urge to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure.

Mark Twain 1835 - 1910

If anyone wants to sell any S c r a p gold or sovereigns, regardless of condition -  ask me for a price first please.
BottyBurp (Kris)
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To "Search and Protect"

« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2008, 05:36:49 AM »

They sound exactly like what I intend to find one day!
Interesting stuff.
Oh well, I can but dream.....

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