While excavating an archaeological site from the Bronze Age in North Wales, archaeologists have unearthed a set of mysterious bronze tools unlike ‘anything ever seen before’.
The set of enigmatic tools were discovered at the bottom of an ancient steam located in the Clwydian Range.
Archaeologists believe that the tools were placed there on purpose some 4,500 years ago in some sort of ancient ritual, although experts say the nature of this remains a profound mystery.
Researchers from the Clwydian Range Archaeological Group recovered twenty triangular-shaped stone tools while exploring the area in July and August of 2017.
In an interview with Live Science, Mr. Ian Brooks one of the archaeologists who participated in the excavation said that the tools totally surprised them:
”I’ve not seen anything like them before, and I’ve talked to a number of colleagues who’ve never seen anything like them.”
The mystery artifacts range in size from 50 millimeters to 220 millimeters and were crafted from local limestone.
“They are rough slabs of the limestone, which have been shaped to produce one pointed end. But they all have this characteristic point at one end, which has then been battered – you’ve got pitting and distinctive damage on the end, so they’ve been heavily used,” added Mr. Brooks.
Archaeologists are unsure what the tools were used for, but one prevailing theory is that they were used thousands of years ago for chipping designs onto rocks.
“One of the things that you do get in the Bronze Age is the decoration of natural boulders and rock faces, producing things like cut marks and rings and suchlike. The point on these things would be about the right sort of size for pecking that sort of design,” said Mr. Brooks.
Archaeologists excavated the mysterious tools on a plateau located to the northeast of the Moel Arthur hill fort—one of six ancient forts found in the Clwydian Range believed to have been erected sometime around 8 BC.
However, experts believe the tools are much older than that.
According to carbon dating features from an archaeological feature near the site, referred to as ‘burnt mound’ has experts thinking the tools could be around 1,000 older than the hill fort itself.
A burnt mound is where ancient people heated stones in a fire before being used to heat water.
Older studies performed I 2011 and 2012 respectively have shown that the region was home to a number of roundhouses. Their inhabitants were most likely agriculturalists, researchers point out.
“The likelihood is that the Clwydian Range was more intensively used than the Vale of Clwyd itself, which is likely to have been wet and nasty, with heavier lands which were less suitable for simple plowing,” concluded Mr. Brooks.