Mold gold cape to be displayed in Cardiff and Wrexham museums
A unique ceremonial Bronze Age gold cape which was discovered in Flintshire 180 years ago is to go on display in Cardiff and Wrexham this summer.
The Mold Gold Cape, thought to have been a woman's, will be loaned first to the National Museum in Cardiff in July.
Afterwards the cape, which was made about 3,700 years ago, will move to the Wrexham County Borough museum.
The British Museum, which houses the cape in its collections, says it shows the sophistication of early societies.
End Quote David Anderson, National Museum Wales
The Mold cape is of great importance... and is also of international significance to our understanding of cultural expression and power relations in Early Bronze Age Europe, reflected both in life and in death”
Neil MacGregor, the museum's director, said: "We are delighted that this exceptional object of national and international significance will be displayed in Cardiff and Wrexham.
"Through research on rare objects like the Mold Gold Cape, in recent years we have come to see British prehistoric societies very differently.
He said such precious objects showed that societies in Britain must have been "extremely sophisticated, both in skill and their social structure.
Mold gold cape
The cape, fashioned from a single sheet of thin gold, is considered one of the finest examples of prehistoric sheet and embossed-gold working in Europe.
It was discovered in fragments in Mold in Flintshire in 1833 when workmen found a skeleton in a grave at the centre of a circular burial monument.
Originally, the hundreds of fragments were divided up between the workers and the land tenant.
But it was only when the British Museum acquired the artefacts and experts set about putting together the fragments that the original form of the cape was revealed.
Recent research has suggested that the wearer of the cape, and accompanying amber bead necklace and bronze knife may have been a woman.
"They were not isolated but part of a larger European trade network, a web of trade and exchange from north Wales to Scandinavia."
The Mold cape was last displayed in the Cardiff museum in 1996 and 2001.
David Anderson, director general of National Museum Wales, said they were delighted that the priceless masterpiece from north east Wales will soon be on display again in Cardiff.
Mr Anderson said the visit was a wonderful opportunity for local people and visitors to learn more about their heritage and early past.
"The Mold cape is of great importance, in both local and national contexts and is also of international significance to our understanding of cultural expression and power relations in Early Bronze Age Europe, reflected both in life and in death."
Neil Rogers, leader of Wrexham council, said the last time the Mold Cape visited the town's museum in 2005 it attracted 11,500 visitors in just 12 weeks.
"That fact more than any other illustrates the huge level of interest amongst the local public for both archaeology and our shared prehistoric heritage.
"So I am naturally excited at the prospect of the cape's return to the town," he added.
The cape will be shown at National Museum Cardiff from 2 July to 4 August and at Wrexham museum from 7 August to 14 September, 2013.