Treasure to Be Found for Those with Passion for History, Patience and a Metal Detector; MUSEUM IN BID TO BUY BRONZE AGE DISCOVERY

Article excerpt

Byline: RACHAEL MISSTEAR

FINDING a hoard of long-lost treasure is a metal detector's dream.

And for one enthusiast that dream was realised when he discovered a trove of Bronze Age treasure in a field in Pembrokeshire.

The 19 bronze and copper artefacts, around 3,000 years old, including tools, a weapon, a personal dress item, ingots and bronze casting byproducts, were found by Gavin Palmer near Manorbier in August last year.

He found socketed axes, a gouge, a sword blade fragment and a circular dish-headed pin which can be dated to the late Bronze Age and were buried around 1000 to 800BC.

It is hoped the items will form a collection at the National Museum of Wales, which intends to acquire the hoard following its independent valuation.

Adam Gwilt, curator of the Bronze Age collections at the museum Wales, said: "This varied group of bronze objects helps us to understand the kinds of tools, weapons and personal dress items that were in circulation in West Wales towards the end of the Bronze Age.

"The hoard may have been buried during a ritual ceremony held by a nearby community of farmers and metalwork."

Dyfed Archaeological Trust carried out an investigation of the area, with funding support from Cadw, which suggested the artefacts had once been buried together as a hoard in an isolated pit.

No further artefacts were found and there was no evidence of a settlement or monument in the immediate vicinity. The museum receives a few chance finds of coins and tokens, but occasionally something more spectacular comes to light.

On September 17, 1996, one of Wales' finest coin hoards was discovered.

The treasure of Tregwynt was uncovered at Tregwynt Mansion, not far from Fishguard, Pembrokeshire, when the owners were building a tennis court.

The coins were bought by National Museum Wales with a heritage lottery grant for an undisclosed fee.

Investigations proved they dated back to the English Civil War of the 1640s.

Two years later two separate but significant discoveries were unearthed by metal detectorists in Monmouthshire - a unique hoard of roman coins from Rogiet and a gold ring from Raglan.

Both finds were significant and fine examples of treasure that are now in the collections at the museum.

Mark Lodwick who works for the museum's Portable Antiquities Scheme and is the only finds co-ordinator in Wales, said stumbling across ancient artefacts is not as rare as one would imagine. …