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During the 2002 excavation of the lead smelting site a small (39 mm diameter) gold foil disc was found lying upon the earlier ground surface close to one of the medieval hearths.

On closer examination this turned out to be an unusual and important find: a Copper Age / Early Bronze Age “sun disc”, a unique object to the region and perhaps the earliest gold artefact from Wales.

This is an example of early Bell Beaker gold work, the thin foil disc decorated with a simple repousse design of concentric rings and dots, rather similar in some respects to the designs found on some of the so-called “basket-earring” hair tress ornaments accompanying important Beaker burials.

Originally the disc may have been worn attached to a cloak or shroud.

In March 2003 the area of this find was re-investigated and a heavily disturbed grave-cut was discovered lying almost directly beneath the findspot.

Some filmy traces of degraded bone but no other grave goods were discovered. The grave faced west down the “V” of the Ystwyth Valley and towards the distant horizon.

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This website was made possible by a grant from the Cambrian Archaeology Association

Excavation of disc findspot in 2003 showing putative grave.

Location of gold disc.


Photo reproduced by permission National
Museum and Galleries of Wales.
In the context of understanding the local landscape of Cwmystwyth during the period of
prehistoric mining, a further investigation was undertaken on what was thought to be a
Bronze Age kerb cairn located on a prominent spur of the hillside directly above the main
historical - period workings at Pant Morcell.
Photo (S. Timberlake).
Drawing of gold disc (scale 20mm), B. Craddock
Mail: bc293@cam.ac.uk