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Archaeo News 

7 May 2004
Dig shows Welsh were evolving at faster pace

During the middle Bronze Age, farming communities in North Wales were developing well, say archaeologists. The early Bronze Age had been characterised by communities based around monuments similar to Stonehenge. But Dr Robert Johnston of Bangor University says that in North Wales the pattern of dwellings was determined by the size of extended families and a more advanced culture. The number of weapons found indicate that conflicts existed between different groups which were settled by violence. However there was no evidence of any large invasions during this period, Dr Johnston said. Rather people who settled across North Wales managed to evolve into more sophisticated societies than other areas.
     "There are a number of sites across North Wales dating from this period, for example, the copper mines at the Great Orme," said Dr Johnston. "From the middle Bronze Age, you start to see settlements appearing, hut circles in upland areas. These are the British communities. We are seeing the first of a long-lasting agricultural landscape. Excavations elsewhere have suggested these are extended families settling down."
     Dr Johnston said that the Rossett treasure hoard would help explain the ancient regard for status symbols that were moved between families as a way of paying tribute. Objects, such as the treasure found near Wrexham, could be an indication of how important a family or individual was as the more exotic items could have found their way from Europe. Wealthy exchanges in the form of gifts between individuals or groups were usually reciprocated.
     "The metalwork finds are of importance. They may have come from other parts of the UK, possibly Ireland," he said. "The gold is more likely to have come from Ireland or Central Europe or further afield. In the Bronze Age, there was an emphasis on male power and prestige expressed through displays of weapons and armour. In this find we have artefacts from different parts of the country found together in the same group. It begins to tell us why they were buried, perhaps for safekeeping or perhaps as offerings to the gods," he added.

Source: ic NorthWales (6 May 2004)

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