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Hidden Bronze Age grave treasures conserved

15 November 2016

Senior Conservator working on the Bronze Age vessel recently excavated in North Wales

The recently-excavated hidden treasures of Bronze Age graves in North Wales have been conserved for public display by conservators at Cardiff University.

Dating from the end of the Neolithic Age and the start of the Bronze Age, the 4,000 year-old beaker pots were in very different states of repair, one in poor condition and the other among the best preserved in Gwynedd.
Archaeologists from Brython Archaeology discovered the ancient cemetery when working in the Cefn Graianog Quarry at Llanllyfni, near Caernarfon.

Senior Conservator Phil Parkes, who worked on the Bronze Age beaker pots, said: “The smaller beaker pot required several days’ intensive conservation in the lab. Given its damaged state, painstaking micro-excavation of hundreds of fragments was needed before a period of carefully piecing the piece back together to reproduce the shape of the original vessel.”

The larger vessel was beautifully preserved and required little more than the gentle cleaning of its surface. 4,000 years underground had crushed the smaller pot, distorting it significantly. As well as the prized beaker pots, the team discovered pits containing charcoal and pottery which are also believed to date back to the Bronze Age.

‘It’s great to know these extraordinary finds from North Wales will  help the community connect with their prehistoric heritage at STORIEL” he added.

The meticulous conservation of the newly discovered Bronze Age treasures was undertaken at the University’s conservation practice, a professional artefact conservation and collections care service for clients throughout the UK and beyond.

The next generation of conservators following the internationally respected undergraduate and postgraduate conservation programmes at the University regularly gain experience of the conservation objects from a broad range of periods and cultures thanks to the work of the Conservation unit.