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The Snettisham Hoards

Since 1948 at least eleven hoards of torcs, ingots and coins have been found at Ken Hill, Snettisham, Norfolk. Three hoards, recorded as Hoards A-C, ploughed to the surface in 1948, are now in Norwich Castle Museum, along with single torcs found in 1964, 1968 and 1973. Two more hoards (D and E - possibly part-hoards) found while ploughing in 1950 were acquired by the British Museum.

The assumption that the site had been completely wrecked by ploughing had to be revised when, with the landowner's permission and using a metal detector, C.A. Hodder located Hoard F in August 1990. The discovery of a huge deposit of broken torcs, bracelets, ingots and coins prompted The British Museum to organize an archaeological excavation in November 1990. Five more hoards were found: G, H, J and K were 'nests' of torcs in very shallow pits, while the more impressive Hoard L had been buried in two instalments, an upper 'nest' of silver and bronze, and a deeper deposit of mainly gold torcs.

Most of the hoards were buried about 70 BC, and the entire collection is the largest deposit of gold and silver from Iron Age Europe. The hoards were found towards the centre of a large eight-hectare enclosure, but extensive excavations failed to establish its purpose.

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Images of cats from the British Museum collection, £9.99

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