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21 March 2009
Rare Iron Age bowls unearthed in Wales

Rare Iron Age artefacts buried as part of a religious offering have been unearthed by an amateur treasure hunter. Two bronze bowls and a bronze wine strainer, described by an expert as of "great importance for the UK," were found by Craig Mills in his home city of Newport, South Wales. He came across the items in the Langstone area in December 2007, only nine months after he took up metal detecting.
     It is believed the objects were used by ancestors for eating or drinking and were deliberately buried intact as a religious offering. The items are believed to have been made around 25-60 CE and were buried at the time of the Roman army's campaign against the Iron Age Silures tribe of South Wales, between 47 and 75 CE. The two near-complete bowls have rounded bases, carefully formed rims and decorated fittings with rings for hanging them up and the strainer has a rounded bowl-shaped body with a wide, flat rim and a similar suspension ring. The decoration on all the vessels is of the late Celtic or La Tene style of the late Iron Age.
     Adam Gwilt, curator of the Iron Age Collections at the National Museum of Wales, said: "This discovery is of great importance for Wales and the UK. Similar bowls have been found in western and southern Britain, but few find-spots have been carefully and recently investigated by archaeologists. It seems these valued and whole containers were carefully buried at the edge of an ancient bog or lake, as part of a ritual offering. We are looking forward to researching and investigating further during 2009, in order to reveal the full story of how these impressive decorated pieces were made, used and buried."
     It is hoped the bowls and wine strainer will be displayed at the National Museum of Wales in 2010 in the Origins: In Search of Early Wales gallery.

Sources: BBC News, WalesOnline (19 March 2009)

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