An early Bronze Age hoard of two flat axes discovered in north Pembrokeshire have been declared treasure by Pembrokeshire deputy coroner Gareth Lewis.

The axes, which were thought to have been buried more than 4,000 years ago around 2000BC, were discovered in Nevern in early August 2011.

They were found less than three metres apart by Tom Baxter and Luke Pearce, who were metal detecting in a field under pasture.

The discovery was first reported as possible treasure to Portable Antiquities Scheme Wales (PAS Cymru) co-ordinator Mark Lodwick and archaeologists at the National Museum Wales compiled a report.

One of the axes, of simple and slender form, is a very early bronze form of late Migdale metalworking tradition.

The other, slightly shorter and more flared, has more developed features, including hammered face edges and ‘rain pattern’ decoration from the butt to the blade end, and is an early developed flat axe, known as Aylesford type.

An archaeological investigation of the location was undertaken by archaeologists from PAS Cymru and National Museum Wales with the help of the finders.

Experts are still uncertain why two complete axes were buried in the location, but believe it may have been regarded as a special place in the landscape, near to a stream source and looking out towards the sea.

This new discovery is also part of a wider observed clustering of single early bronze axes discovered in north west Carmarthenshire and north east Pembrokeshire.

National Museum Wales Bronze Age collections curator Adam Gwilt said: “This is an important discovery of early bronze axes for Wales, providing a picture of developing bronze casting expertise around 4,000 years ago.

“This find-spot, on the northern margins of Mynydd Preseli, sits within a rich and important prehistoric ritual landscape.

“The hoard adds to the wider picture of the lives of the early metalworking communities here at the beginning of the Bronze Age.”

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority culture and heritage manager Phil Bennett said: “The National Park has an extraordinarily rich and diverse prehistoric heritage, with important and exciting discoveries, such as this, shedding light on the distant past of our special landscape.”

The National Museum Wales is keen to acquire the hoard following its independent valuation.