In a remarkable find that provides insight into the cultural interactions during the Roman occupation of Britain, two copper alloy bracelets were recently discovered in Llanddyfnan, Anglesey, Wales. The bracelets, which date back to the 2nd century AD, were found by Andrew Hutchinson while metal detecting in September 2023.

The bracelets feature a unique design, with a wide central band and parallel grooves on either side. Remnants of a hinge mechanism are preserved on each bracelet, with the ends rolled into tubes and cut, possibly to allow for interlacing of tabs.

Notably, one of the bracelets has a square silver plate adorned with a relief decoration in the form of a triskele, with the surrounding edge filled with shallower dots.

Experts from the Dyfed Archaeological Trust and the National Museum of Wales (Amgueddfa Cymru) have identified similarities between these bracelets and Roman strap bracelets found in other parts of Wales and Scotland.

The triskele symbol, often associated with Celtic Iron Age designs, appears on objects from the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods, as well as in Greek antiquity. Its presence on 2nd-century Roman objects provides a fascinating glimpse into the cultural contact that occurred during the Roman occupation of Britain.

Evan Chapman, Senior Curator of Archaeology at the National Museum of Wales, commented, These bracelets are an interesting example of the mixing of indigenous and Roman design and cultural traditions within a single object. The discovery highlights the complex interplay of cultures during this period of British history.

The Oriel Ynys Mon Museum has expressed keen interest in acquiring the bracelets for their collection, following an independent valuation by the Treasure Valuation Committee. Ian Jones, Director of Buildings and Collections at the museum, stated, These two bracelets would be an excellent addition, and we are pleased to collaborate with Amgueddfa Cymru, the local landowner, and the metal detectorist. We are eager to receive and display them, as they will undoubtedly be of interest to our visitors and can be showcased to school and educational groups.

This extraordinary find not only adds to our understanding of the Roman presence in ancient Britain but also underscores the importance of preserving and studying such artifacts.

As the bracelets await their permanent home at the Oriel Ynys Mon Museum, they serve as a tangible link to the rich and complex history of the region, offering a window into the lives and cultural exchanges of our ancient ancestors.


Sources

Amgueddfa Cymru (Museum of Wales)


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