[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 November, 2003, 14:59 GMT
Dig unearths Bronze Age sun disc
Gold sun disc uncovered in Ceredigion
The sun disc is the first recorded example of its kind in Wales
An ancient gold disc which was used as an item of adornment at a burial 4,000 years ago has been discovered in Ceredigion.

Experts say the priceless sun disc is the first one of its kind to be found in Wales and only the third known piece of gold from the Bronze Age uncovered here.

The disc found by chance by an archaeologist digging at Copa Hill at the Cwmystwyth Mines - 10 miles outside Aberystwyth - was the subject of a treasure trove inquest heard by Ceredigion coroner on Tuesday.

The find - roughly the size of a milk bottle top - is said to be as significant as the famous Mold cape - thought to have been worn as a garment for religious ceremonies by a great authority - the Bronze Age disc now housed at the British Museum.

Similar items have been found in Ireland and Europe, but never before in Wales.

We were very surprised to find this disc here with an early burial
Simon Timberlake

If it is declared treasure trove, the National Museum of Wales will try to buy the sun disc for its collection, once its true value has been independently assessed.

Adam Gwilt, the museum's curator, said: "Gold sun-discs are one of the very earliest kinds of metal objects ever to have been made and used in Britain and Ireland."

"The first of its kind from Wales, this fragile sheet disc seems to have been used as an item of adornment on a few special occasions, here upon the death of an individual."

But it was found in a burial site so ancient that the occupant of the grave will probably never be known

"It is tempting to see this person as connected in some way with the very early mining on Copa Hill over 4,000 years ago, perhaps one of a group of travelling prospectors or a person of some standing who lived nearby," said Mr Gwilt.

Gold cape
This Bronze Age Mold Cape was discovered in 1833

The sun disc was found by Simon Timberlake, a freelance archaeologist, when he was digging on the site of a Roman and medieval lead smelter in October 2002.

"We were very surprised to find this disc here with an early burial," said Mr Timberlake, a member of the Early Mines Research Group.

"This discovery was made quite by chance while we were investigating a Roman and medieval lead smelting site about 500 metre away from the early mine (at Copa Hill)."

The coroner adjourned the inquest until 17 December because members of the Cardiff museum had not brought the disc itself to the hearing - merely a photograph of it.

The coroner said he needed to see the disc itself.


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific