Welsh officials have declared nine recent archaeological finds, all discovered by metal detectorists, as treasure. The rare objects had likely been buried for safekeeping by their owners but were never recovered.
Abandoned for centuries, the treasures probably belonged to elite members of Welsh society between the ninth and seventeenth centuries. They include an early medieval silver fastener, a medieval silver bar-mount, silver annular brooch and gold coin hoard, a late medieval silver-gilt finger ring, post-medieval gold posy rings, a Tudor silver coin hoard and a seventeenth-century gold coin hoard.
Amateur metal detectorists Chris Perkins and Shawn Hendry uncovered the medieval gold coins in Llanwrtyd Community, Powys in April 2019. Dating from 1327 to 1399, they are the first English gold coin produced in quantity known as nobles.
Curator Nigel Blackamore from Y Gaer Museum, Art Gallery, and Library hopes to acquire the coins, stating “very few gold coins have been discovered within south Powys, so we would welcome the possibility of adding these to Museums new medieval displays.”
Another intriguing find is a ghoulish ring engraved with the head of death. It dates between 1550 and 1650 and bears the inscription ‘memento mori’, which is Latin for ‘remember you will die.’
“Its sentiment reflects the high mortality of the period, the motif and inscription acknowledging the brevity and vanities of life,” explained Mark Redknap, the deputy head of collections and research of the National Museum of Wales.
The fascinating objects were designated as treasure by the Assistant Coroner for South Wales Central, Thomas Atherton. In Wales, items considered treasure must be legally reported and relinquished to the National Museum of Wales, which is the country’s chief heritage organisation for treasure discoveries.