Iron Age, around 75 BC
From Ken Hill, Snettisham, Norfolk., England
A treasured heirloom?
This torc had been made some years before it was buried at Snettisham. It appears to have been worn for a long time; it had been broken at least once and was repaired with a sheet of gold and gold ropes and rings. The main part of the torc is made from four ropes, each made from 8 strains of gold wire twisted around each other. The hollow ends are elaborately decorated with La Tene style patterns.
This torc was placed in a small hole in the ground with 20 other torcs. First 10 gold torcs, including this one, and two silver torcs were placed in the ground along with two bronze bracelets. Then soil was thrown in the hole before another 7 torcs were carefully placed on top. Five of these torcs were made of silver and two from bronze. Did each torc belong to a different person? Did the older or the more important people wear gold rather than silver or bronze torcs? We will never be able to answer these questions with any certainty.
Diameter: 21 cm
Weight: 800 g
P&EE 1991 4-7 37
Room 50, Later Bronze Age & Celtic Europe, case 19
R. Rainbird Clarke, 'The Early Iron Age treasure from Snettisham, Norfolk', Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 20 (1954)
I.M. Stead, 'The Snettisham Treasure: excavations in 1990', Antiquity, 65 (1991)
S. James and V. Rigby, Britain and the Celtic Iron Age (London, The British Museum Press, 1997), p.61, plate 69.
I.M. Stead, Celtic art (London, The British Museum Press, 1987, revised edition 1997).
Related objects and informations:
Fragment of a tubular torc from Snettisham
Silver torc from the Snettisham hoard L
Gold torcs from the Ipswich Hoard
Iron Age torcs
Early Celtic or La Tene art
Britain in the Iron Age
The Snettisham Hoards