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Author Topic: Hoard of ancient gold declared treasure trove - North Wales  (Read 1848 times)
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« on: November 03, 2008, 04:24:14 PM »

May 6 2004 Duncan Higgitt, The Western Mail

BRONZE Age gold unearthed in Wales has been officially declared treasure of international importance.It was the equivalent of winning the lottery for the metal detector users who discovered the trove, an inquest heard yesterday.The three enthusiasts from Liverpool - and the landowner from near Wrexham where the hoard was discovered - will be sharing thousands of pounds, the value of the find.

Peter Skelly, William May and Joseph Perry, three friends who work for social services and are all members of South Lancashire and Cheshire metal detectors' club, were searching a field in the Rossett area in January.

Mr Skelly said, "We have been detecting in the North Wales area for the last five years because we enjoy this area and the landowners are very friendly towards us. In this case, we just liked the look of the land.

"We've had some very good finds, but this was the find of a lifetime, the metal detector's version of winning the lottery. We've found silver coins before. I have found brooches and coins way back to the Romans, but this is unheard of - going back 3,300 years."

The friends made three visits to the secret site, making the major find about January 25. Their sophisticated detectors found a Bronze Age axe head first - Mr May received the first signal.

The find was about eight inches below the surface.

Mr Skelly told the Flint inquest, "We are hungry for history and read and watch everything on TV."

A gold bead was then discovered. Iron debris had to be cleared away to avoid confusing the detectors. And then more gold appeared.

"We started pulling up more pieces of gold and it was very exciting, we were spending about six hours a day there.

"We realised we had found a major hoard. We started to let our imaginations run wild. I said I bet there is a gold torc [necklace] here and 25 minutes later we found a gold torc necklace," said Mr Skelly.

When the necklace was dug up the three "started dancing around patting each other on the back".

The gold objects were as good as the day they were put in the ground, he said.

In all 14 artefacts of gold, bronze and ancient pottery were discovered. They are believed to date from between 1300-1100 BC - the Middle Bronze Age.

Among the artefacts is a twisted gold wire bracelet and a spiralled gold wire pendant in the shape of a long bead. The find also includes a form of necklace called a torc, a bracelet, a pendant and a collection of beads and rings, all made of gold.

They were found buried alongside two palstaves - a type of axe - and a chisel within a small pot. The gold ranges from 80% to 98% pure.

The artefacts were secretly stored at Wrexham Museum, but then moved to Liverpool Museum for security and then transferred to the National Museum and Gallery of Wales in Cardiff.

NMGW says the artefacts are the first of their kind to be found in Britain, and that only one or two similar objects had been discovered in north-western France. They believe the hoard was probably buried as a gift to the gods by a well-connected and wealthy farming community.

Mr Skelly said it was a good job they had discovered the treasure or future ploughing could have damaged it.

Since the find he said they had been involved in "pretty exciting stuff".

He said, "I thought we would come down to earth with a bump, that the exhilaration would drop, but it hasn't purely because we have been kept informed by Mark Lodwick and Adam Gwilt (of the National Museum in Cardiff) who have behaved impeccably towards us.

"In the past there has been some animosity between archaeologists and detectorists.

"I have fulfilled a boyhood dream. I always wanted to take part in an archaeological dig and they invited the three of us to take part in a type of Time Team dig."

A spokeswoman for the National Museum said, "The variety of gold objects represented makes this of key importance to our understanding of gold working and adornment in Britain between 1300-1100BC.

Mr Skelly said, "Their report talks of it being of major international importance and unprecedented in Wales."

Finders and landowner to split fortune
JOHN GITTINS, North East Wales deputy coroner, said the museum's report made it clear the find was treasure which the National Museum would want to acquire.

The treasure will be put on public show at the museum later this month.

It will be independently valued by at least two separate committees and an offer made to the three finders. They can accept the offer or have their own valuation if they want.

When a figure is agreed the money will be split 50-50 between the landowner and the three finders. The gold Bronze Age Ringlemere Cup, found in Kent in 2001, was valued at 270,000.

Other discoveries of Middle Bronze Age artefacts in Wales include the famous Gold Cape, which was discovered in Mold. Two years ago, Wrexham metal detector users, Pete Williams and Mike Sheen, found 3,000-year-old gold bracelet fragments, a bronze axe and a dagger

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.

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