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Last Updated: Monday, 26 September 2005, 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK
Mold gold cape finally comes home
The Mold Gold Cape on display in Wrexham Museum
The cape is now believed to have been worn by a woman
A gold Bronze Age cape has finally returned to the area of Wales where it was discovered 170 years ago.

The 4,000-year-old Mold Cape has gone on display as the centrepiece of an exhibition at Wrexham Museum.

The cape was uncovered by workmen quarrying stone in 1833 in an area of Mold, which is now the town's rugby club.

On loan from the British Museum, it is believed it was once worn by a woman with rich and powerful connections.

There has been a long campaign for the priceless artefact to be exhibited back in north Wales.

The cape was unveiled at the official opening of the three-month show, Re-creations: Visualising our Past on Monday.

Widely regarded as one of the finest examples of Bronze Age craftsmanship, it has been loaned by the British Museum in London, where it is among the top 10 exhibits.

She would have been very constrained but clearly it would have been obvious you were very rich and very important
Neil MacGregor, British Museum

Welsh Culture Minister Alun Pugh said he was "delighted with the co-operation of the British Museum" to enable the exhibition to take place."

"I think what is important is that we have a regular collection of important objects in Wales," said the minister, added he expected to see many more similar exhibitions in the future.

The cape was uncovered by workmen quarrying stone in a field called Bryn Yr Ellyllon.

It was inside a Bronze Age burial mound together with the remains of a skeleton and some amber beads.

Made from a very high quality of gold, the cape weighs one kilogram and historians believe it was possibly worn as a garment for religious ceremonies.

But Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, explained how experts' views of the likely ownership of the cape have changed over the years.

Welsh Culture Minister Alun Pugh with the Mold Cape
The minister said he hoped similar on-loan exhibits would follow

"It was thought first of all that it was the breast plate of a pony.

"Then it was thought to sit over the shoulders of a man, probably a king of some sort.

"Now we think it was for a woman. It would have sat over her shoulders, stopped her moving her upper arms.

"She would have been very constrained but clearly it would have been obvious you were very rich and very important," he said.

Ray Dodd, mayor of Mold and Flintshire councillor, said he was "absolutely over the moon" when he heard about the cape's return.

"I've visited the British Museum on a number of occasions to see the cape down there," he said.

"As you know there've been big campaigns to get it back even on a visiting basis to North Wales."

The 'Re-creations' exhibition runs at Wrexham Museum until 17 December.


SEE ALSO:
Golden treasure to return home
14 Jul 05 |  North East Wales
Hoard adds weight to museum bid
10 Mar 04 |  North East Wales
Fresh Bronze Age treasure find
04 Mar 04 |  North East Wales


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