An Early Bronze Age hoard, which is thought to have been buried around 2000BC (4,000 years ago) has been declared treasure by H.M. Deputy Coroner for Pembrokeshire.
The hoard of two early bronze flat axes, was discovered in the Community of Nevern, Pembrokeshire during early August 2011 by Mr Tom Baxter and Mr Luke Pearce. The axes were found less than 3 metres apart while the finders were metal detecting in a field under pasture.
The discovery was first reported as possible treasure to Mark Lodwick, Portable Antiquities Scheme Co-ordinator for Wales (PAS Cymru) and was subsequently reported on by museum archaeologists at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales.
One axe, of simple and slender form, is a very early bronze form of late Migdale metalworking tradition. The other, slightly shorter and more flared, has more developed features, including hammered face edges and ‘rain pattern’ decoration from the butt to the blade end. It is an early Developed Flat Axe, known as Aylesford type
. An archaeological investigation of the find-spot was undertaken by archaeologists working for the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales (PAS Cymru) and Amgueddfa Cymru, with the assistance of the finders. This confirmed the find-spot and its location within the wider landscape.
Uncertainty remains as to the reason for the burial of two complete axes in this location. It may have been regarded as a special place in the landscape, near to a stream source and looking out towards the sea. This new discovery is also part of a wider observed clustering of single early bronze axes discovered in north west Carmarthenshire and north east Pembrokeshire.
Adam Gwilt, Curator of the Bronze Age Collections at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales said:“This is an important discovery of early bronze axes for Wales, providing a picture of developing bronze casting expertise around 4,000 years ago. This find-spot, on the northern margins of Mynydd Preseli, sits within a rich and important prehistoric ritual landscape.
"The hoard adds to the wider picture of the lives of the early metalworking communities here at the beginning of the Bronze Age.”
Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales is keen to acquire this hoard following its independent valuation.
Phil Bennett, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority's Culture and Heritage Manager said: "The National Park has an extraordinarily rich and diverse prehistoric heritage, with important and exciting discoveries such as this shedding light on the distant past of our special landscape."
Discovered in Time; Treasures From Early Wales is an accessible and beautifully illustrated book, published by the National Museum Wales (2011) and profiling the nation’s rich archaeological collections.
National Museum Cardiff is free thanks to the support of the Welsh Government. Amgueddfa Cymru operates seven national museums across Wales. These are National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans: National History Museum, National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon, Big Pit: National Coal Museum, Blaenafon, National Wool Museum, Dre-fach Felindre, National Slate Museum, Llanberis and the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.