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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 May, 2004, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Treasure hunters hit jackpot
Bronze Age treasure discovered at Wrexham
The Bronze Age hoard is thought to have been a gift to the gods
Three metal detector enthusiasts are to receive a windfall after Bronze Age artefacts they uncovered were classed as treasure.

The 14 pieces of "priceless" gold and bronze jewellery and pottery were uncovered in Wrexham in January by Peter Skelly, William May and Joseph Perry.

Mr Skelly said they were "shaking with excitement" and immediately realised the enormity of their discovery.

The hoard is believed to date from 1300BC to 1100BC and has been described as unique within Britain and of national importance.

The treasure will now be claimed by the state, and the three men who found it will be paid a sum equal to their worth - which could be hundreds of thousands of pounds.

A coroner declared the items as treasure at an inquest in Flint on Wednesday, and a special committee will now meet to decide their value.

Some of the gold adornments which were found
The men who found the treasure were "shaking with excitement"

Experts think the hoard, which includes a golden bangle and bracelet and a necklace pendant, was buried by a wealthy, well-connected farming community as a gift to the gods.

The treasure is expected to go on public display over the summer at the National Museum and Gallery in Cardiff.

Adam Gwilt, Curator of the Bronze Age Collections at the museum said the wide range of artefacts of gold, bronze and pottery buried together in the hoard was extremely rare.

"The quality of workmanship displayed on the gold bracelet is stunning, and the pendant is unique.

The three men who found the treasure
The three metal detector enthusiasts, with the landowner, will share a substantial sum

"It was probably buried as a gift to the Gods by a wealthy and well-connected farming community living in this part of Wales over 3000 years ago.

"The hoard will significantly improve our understanding of gold working and adornment in Britain between 1300-1100BC."

After the inquest, Peter Skelly said: "We were shaking with excitement but full of exhilharation.

"We'd never come across anything like this before, but we knew what we'd found."

Alan Watkin, Chief Leisure, Libraries and Culture Officer at Wrexham Council added he hoped people in north east Wales would be able to see the treasure back in the region in an exhibition next year.

Axes, a chisel and a small pot were also uncovered in the ground nearby.

It is not the first time Bronze Age artefacts have been found in Wrexham.

In January 2002 gold bracelet fragments, a bronze axe and a dagger were found by two metal detector enthusiasts.

The pair from the Wrexham Metal Detectorists Club came across the items at a rally near Rossett, in Wrexham.

The dagger was the first of its kind to be discovered in Wales.

The region's most famous Bronze Age link is the priceless 4,000-year-old gold cape discovered in Mold in 1833, widely regarded as one of the finest pieces of craftsmanship from that period.

The recent discoveries have added weight to calls for a national museum in north east Wales.

It is hoped a museum, jointly funded by public and private money, will open by 2008.


SEE ALSO:
Fresh Bronze Age treasure find
04 Mar 04  |  North East Wales
Fight on for new museum
24 Oct 03  |  Wales
Museum urged to give back relic
24 Jan 02  |  Wales


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