Anglesey: Mysterious artefact discovered at Neolithic tomb · By Dion Jones

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Copper artifact found in an archaeological excavation at Perthi Duon on Anglesey. Photo courtesy of Dr George Nash

Find at Perthi Duon excavation site near Brynsiencyn could prove existence of a British Copper Age says archeology expert. The discovery of a mysterious copper artifact at a Neolithic tomb on Anglesey could help to answer one of archaeology’s burning questions.
Dr George Nash, who led the excavation at Perthi Duon near Brynsiencyn, says the find could lend weight to the idea of a British Copper Age, which is currently being debated by archaeologists.
Perthi Duon – described by Dr. Nash as Anglesey’s “least known Neolithic chambered tomb” – is believed to have been a portal dolmen, a type of single-chamber tomb mostly built in the early Neolithic period, and dates to around 3,500BC or earlier.
Dr Nash, of Bristol University, said the monument was in a “ruinous” state by the early years of the nineteenth century and had been incorporated into a boundary hedge.
An international team of archaeologists from the Welsh Rock Art Organization recently excavated the site and uncovered “several significant features”, said Dr Nash. Among them was the “curious” copper artifact, which could be a piece of jewelry worn thousands of years ago.
Dr Nash said: “This item could be an important discovery which may reinforce the notion of a Copper Age in the British Isles. Copper items from the British Neolithic (c. 4,000 – 2,000BC) and Early Bronze Age (c. 2,500 – 1,800BC) are considered rare.”
Dr Nash said: “The big question in archaeology at the moment is whether there was a Copper Age in Britain. “Did copper come to Britain before bronze? “This discovery helps to suggest that we did have a Copper Age.
Plowing around the monument during the latter part of the 20th century caused “a lot of disturbance” to the archaeological remains, said Dr Nash.
However, other finds made at the site included areas of compacted stone which would once have formed a kidney-shaped mound around the chamber, and a rare circular stone socket which would have supported a kerbstone used to delineate the shape of the monument. Shards of pottery were also found.
Dr Nash said: “These discoveries clearly show this monument to be a portal dolmen, one of the earliest Neolithic monument types in Wales. “More importantly, the architecture of Perthi Duon appears to be a blueprint for other portal dolmen monuments within what is termed the Irish Sea Province. From this excavation, we now have a better understanding of the burial and ritual practices that went on at this site some 5,500 years ago.”

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