PAS-F070D5: Gold Iron Age torc terminal

Rights Holder: The British Museum
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Rights Holder: The British Museum
CC License:

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TORC

Unique ID: PAS-F070D5

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

A gold terminal of an Iron Age torc; the object was found by Dr Hammond whilst metal detecting as part of a survey conducted by SHARP (Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project) as part of their long running study of the history and archaeology of the parish of Sedgeford. See here for more information.

This terminal comes from the same Iron Age torc or neck ring discovered in 1965. When the 'Sedgeford Torc' was originally found one of the two terminals was missing. This discovery is almost certainly the missing terminal. It is identical in size and design to the earlier discovery. Equally, the sheared ends of the wires of the ropes matched perfectly the broken ends of those on the torc discovered previously.

Like the 'Great Torc' from Ken Hill, Snettisham, the 'Sedgeford Torc' is made from twisted gold wire 'ropes' that were fixed to hollow ring shaped terminals decorated with raised La Tene (so-called 'Early Celtic Art') design. This torc is made from an alloy of gold and silver. The body of the torc is made from 8 'ropes' each made three threads of twisted wires, themselves twisted together in the opposite direction. The terminal is made from a lost wax casting which a raised decoration of trumpet swirls and pellets. The front of the collar is decorated with 11 pellets each with 3 impressions against a background of 'basket weave' work. Basket weave is also used to highlight several of the voids created by the raised trumpet swirls on the main body of the terminals.

The break in the coiled ropes so close to the collar of the hollow terminal allows how the terminal was fixed to the coiled ropes to be clearly seen inside the collar. It would appear that the terminals were cast on to the end of the coiled ropes, which has partially melted. A particular feature of this terminal is a bar of metal passing through the collar of the terminal and the end of the coil wire ropes. The bar is clearly inserted after the terminal had been cast on the body of the torc. Two small holes were carefully cut through the wall of the collar through the end of the coiled ropes. The holes cut through the collar at the front of the terminal cuts through part of the raised decoration. A bar of metal has then been passed through the holes from one side to another. The ends of this bar have then been shaped so it is almost invisible to a casual observer. The function of this very difficult operation is difficult to ascertain, but there are similar bars inserted through the other terminal of this torc. These include one through the collar. These bars were interpreted as an ancient repair when the torc was found in 1965. The actual function of these bars requires further work.

The breaks in the wires of the coil ropes show no sign of a deliberate cutting of the torc, but are more consistent with a break caused by shearing the wires through violently twisting the wire 'rope'. There is no evidence to suggest this was caused deliberately by people in the past. It is possible the break occurred when the main part of the torc was struck by agricultural machinery and this terminal remained held tight in the subsoil.

There is no direct dating evidence for this object. Other twisted rope torcs from Norfolk are suggested to date from the 2nd and early 1st centuries BC.

Notes:

This object qualifies as Treasure under the terms of the Treasure Act 1996 in terms of both age and precious metal content.

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: British Museum
Subsequent action after recording: Acquired by museum after being declared Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2004T157

Chronology

Broad period: IRON AGE
Period from: IRON AGE
Period to: IRON AGE
Date from: Circa 200 BC
Date to: Circa

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 5.45 mm
Width: 4.3 mm
Thickness: 2.03 mm
Weight: 117 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Wednesday 14th April 2004

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Ian Richardson
Identified by: Dr Jeremy Hill

Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2004T157
Museum accession number: 2005,1103.1

Materials and construction

Primary material: Gold
Completeness: Fragment

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Norfolk (County)
District: King's Lynn and West Norfolk (District)
To be known as: Sedgeford

Spatial coordinates


Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Controlled archaeological investigation
Discovery circumstances: Professional metal-detecting survey
Current location: British Museum

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: PAS
Created: 6 years ago
Updated: 6 years ago

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