Bronze age urn found at Rhiw

A Cinerary Urn, containing human bones and pieces of charcoal estimated to be 3,000 years old have been discovered in the isolated upland village of Rhiw, ten miles from Pwllheli.

It was found by Mr Harry Jones, a thirty four year old tenant farmer, while he was ploughing with a tractor on land which he rents from Mr Evan Jones, Bwlch Rhiw, a retired farmer. The field overlooks Cardigan Bay.

Mr Jones said yesterday that he was ploughing rather a rocky field when he felt a bump. He looked round and saw a hole in the ground. “ I got down from the tractor, and saw what appeared to be a pot in the hole”, he said.

“I instinctively felt that this was something unusual, possibly something of historical interest, and sent my boy, John Henry to ask Mr John Williams, the schoolmaster to come. I could see that the pot was face downwards, and that the top had been broken off, possibly by the ploughshare”.

Mr Williams said “I realised this was a find of archaeological interest. Four large stones surrounded the pot, and with a pick, I carefully enlarged the hole so that I could remove it with the least possible disturbance. I collected all the pieces and the bones and placed them in a sack”.

Mr Williams telephoned Mr C W Warren (assistant secretary of Caernarvonshire Historical Society) for his advice. As a result he was put in touch with Mr Colin Gresham of Cricieth, a well known, North Wales archaeologist.

The urn is about eighteen inches high, and about ten inches in diameter.

Mr Gresham who examined the broken vessel, fixed the date as of the middle bronze age. He said it was of a brown colour, well made and of good quality pottery, and an excellent example of the craftsmanship of the period.

A series of straight lines had been scratched immediately below the overhanging rim, and there was also a simple decorative pattern in traditional style.

“Although there are quite a lot of these urns in Wales, it is a very interesting find, because probably no others have been discovered in the Lleyn Peninsula and certainly not in Rhiw” said Mr Gresham.

This week the urn will be taken to the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, to be pieced together again by Dd. H.N. Savory (Keeper of Archaeology and his staff)

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