Diameter: 21.000 cm
Weight: 800.000 g
P&EE 1991 4-7 37
Room 50: Britain and Europe
Gold torc from the Snettisham hoard L
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 eight strains of gold wire twisted around each other. The hollow ends are elaborately decorated with La Tène 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 seven 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.
R. Rainbird Clarke, 'The Early Iron Age treasure from Snettisham, Norfolk', Proceedings of the Prehistoric, 20 (1954)
Richard Hobbs, Treasure: Finding our past (London, The British Museum Press, 2003)
I.M. Stead, 'The Snettisham Treasure: excavations in 1990', Antiquity-3, 65 (1991)
S. James and V. Rigby, Britain and the Celtic Iron Ag (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)
I.M. Stead, Celtic art in Britain before t (London, The British Museum Press, 1987, revised edition 1997)