The Winchester Treasure is a hoard of Iron Age gold found in a field in the Winchester area of Hampshire, England, in 2000 by retired florist and amateur metal prospector, Kevan Halls. It was declared a treasure and valued at £350,000, the highest award granted at the time under the Treasure Act 1996.
The treasure consists of two sets of gold jewelry of very high purity, dating from 75-25 BC. B.C. Although the pieces predate the Roman conquest of Britain in 43 A.D., the manufacturing technique was Roman rather than Celtic. The total weight of the objects is about 1160 g (41 oz).
The find has been described as "the most important discovery of Iron Age gold objects" in fifty years; and the objects were probably an "expensive", "diplomatic gift". The brooches alone were "the third discovery of their kind in Britain.
The Winchester Hoard is now in the British Museum in London.
The treasure was discovered near Winchester during a series of trips to a farmer's ploughed field in September, October and December 2000 by retired florist and amateur metal detectorist Kevan Halls.
The first discovery of the brooches was reported to the Portable Antiquities Program , and British Museum archaeologists were able to excavate the site to establish the historical context of the find. No evidence of a settlement or temple was found in the form of architectural remains. It is more likely that the treasure was buried "on top of a small hill ... covered with trees."
The treasure was declared a treasure after a coroner's inquest and later valued at £350,000, which was divided between the finder and the landowner under the Treasure Act 1996, the highest award granted under the Act at the time. It was also the first time that the context of a find had been investigated by the British Museum under the Act.
There are two sets of gold jewelry in the hoard; each includes a TORc , a pair of brooches , or fibulae, linked by a chain (of which only one chain was found), and a bracelet (one of which was broken in two). They were all made with a very high gold content, from 91% to 99%, according to X-ray fluorescence tests at the British Museum. The total weight of the hoard is 1,158.8 g (40.88 oz) (37.25 troy ounces). It dates from 75-25 B.C., which places it in the Late British Iron Age.
All of the brooches have a bow, two of which are additionally classified as Knotenfibeln ("interlaced fibulae"), which is typical of the La Ten style. A chain of gold wire, intertwined, with hooks at both ends. attached to each pair of brooches. The bracelets have, or were in the case of a broken bracelet, cone-shaped (in the form of an incomplete circle). The ends of the Torcs show some ornamentation (granulation ), and in the case of the smaller, one filigree. Both the granulation and filigree were bonded by diffusion soldering.
One of the ends is larger than the other, so it is assumed that each was intended for a different floor and that these objects were worn.