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18.03.2021

Leekfrith torcs

In torcs Leekfrith four iron age gold torcs found by two hobby metal searchers in December 2016 in a field in Leekfrith , North Staffordshire, England. The find consists of three neck arcs and a smaller bracelet that were in close proximity to each other. It is believed to be the oldest gold jewelry from the Iron Age found in Britain. Subsequent archaeological investigations of the site found no other objects.

One of the torcs is a smaller bracelet decorated with a Celtic-style ornament, and the other three are neck rings. The bracelet and one of the neck rings are made of twisted gold wire, and the other neck rings have pipe-shaped tips. One of the latter was broken into two pieces.

The gold content of the four ends, measured by X-ray fluorescence, is 74-78% (about 17-18 carats ), with 18-22% silver, some copper and traces of iron, mercury and tin-a mixture consistent with other Iron Age gold finds in Europe. The pieces range in weight from 31 grams (1 ounce) to 230 grams (8 ounces), and over 350 grams (10 ounces) overall.

According to Julia Farle, curator of British and European Iron Age collections at the British Museum, the torcs were "most likely" made in the area of what is now Germany or France, most likely in the period 400-250 B.C. ( the La Tene period ). Farley commented: 

This unique find is of international significance. It dates from about 400-250 B.C. B.C. and is probably the earliest piece of Iron Age gold ever found in Britain. The Torks were probably worn by wealthy and influential women, perhaps from the Continent, who married into the local community. Putting together how these objects were carefully buried in the Staffordshire Field will give us an invaluable insight into life in Iron Age Britain.

 

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