Copper alloy torc with a mortice and tenon fastening. Decoration of circular motifs of a ring bordered by three spheres appended to three places on the circumference. Midway between each piece of appended ornament is a collar flanked by notched cordons. Two mortice-and-tenon joints allow a sector of the torc to be removed: at each end of this sector a cross-hatched band, and similar bands on the opposite sides of the adjoining ring and sphere ornament (but not at the sides of the third, the only one whose ring is decorated, with punched circles on one side only).
- 350 BC - 250 BC (circa)
- Found/Acquired: Pleurs, grave 1
- (Europe,France,Champagne-Ardenne,Marne (Champagne-Ardenne),Pleurs (commune),Pleurs)
- Diameter: 153 millimetres
- Thickness: 8.4 millimetres (cross-section neck ring)
- Length: 104.1 millimetres (short segment)
- Weight: 394 grammes (main)
- Weight: 58 grammes (short section)
- Weight: 452 grammes (total)
Stead and Rigby 1999
Findspot: Pleurs ‘Les Buttes’ (Marne)
When Morel moved to Pleurs in 1869 he was told of the discovery of a grave in 1851; he acquired some of the finds, was shown the site (where he retrieved bronze-stained bones) and started excavating (Morel 1898, 109-21). Using a probe, he located a ditch 1 m wide and deep, defining what had been a circular mound with a central pit filled with terre noire, ashes and cremated human bones (plan, Morel 1898, pl. 28; Fig. 199). Within the circle he found five graves as well as the one excavated in 1851, and to the north of it there was a second circle and two more graves. He suspected that there might have been a third circle to the south, where he found six more graves. None of the graves in the main circle had been cut into the chalk, and Morel suggested that the corpses had been placed on the ground and then covered with a mound. Smith, R.A., 1925, ‘A guide to the antiquities of the Early Iron Age’ (second edition), London, 67-8.
Grave 1: The grave excavated in 1851 had been no more than 30-40 cm deep. It contained ML.1621; ML.1622 and two bronze brooches attached to the torc.
Context: Torcs with mortice-and-tenon fastenings
2. With circular motifs (a ring bordered by three spheres) appended to three places on the circumference (‘torques ternaires’). Similar in distribution to type 1 (see ML.1714), with several from the vicinity of Sens (Hure, A., 1931, ‘Le Sénonais aux âge du bronze et du fer’ Sens, figs 159, 231, 255, 262 and 352) and some in the Aube Département (Le Clert, L., 1898, ‘Musée de Troyes: Bronzes, catalogue descriptif et raisonné’ Troyes, nos 132, 412 and 512); one from Courtavant 'le Mont de Noix' grave 5 is in a La Tène Ib context (Charpy, J.-J., 1995b, Les fibulas dites de Münsingen en Champagne, in J.-J. Charpy, ed., ‘L’Europe celtique de Ve au IIIe siécle avant J.-C.’ (Mém. Soc. Archéol. Champenoise, 9), no. 51). From the south of the Marne Département there are examples from Corroy 'St-Mard' grave 13 and Fère-Champenoise 'Faubourg de Connantre' grave 36, dated by Charpy and Roualet (Charpy, J.-J., and Roualet, P., 1991, ‘Les Celtes en Champagne’ (exh. cat., Epernay, 23/6 - 3/11/1991), nos 211 and 212) to La Tène Ib/Ic and Ic respectively; from Corroy 'Bas de la Tomelle' no. 989-1-54; and one from Pogny grave 8 in a La Tène II grave. Bretz-Mahler (Bretz-Mahler, D., 1971, ‘La civilisation de La Tène en Champagne (Gallia, supplément, 23), pl. 57, 2 and 4) illustrates examples in Epernay Museum from Sogny and Saron. There are related pieces, with arcs instead of rings, from Corroy 'Au-dessous-des-Roseaux' (dated La Tène Ib by Hatt, J.-J., and Roualet, P., 1977, La chronologie de la Tène en Champagne, ‘Revue archéologique de l’est et du centre-est’ (28), 7-36, pl. ix, 5); Flavigny grave 17 (Thénot, A, 1982, ‘La civilisation celtique dans l’est de la France, d’après la collection de Baye’, Paris, pl. 16, 2), a cemetery that includes La Tène II graves; and in the Sens area (Hure 1931, figs 157, 158 and 263). A torc with features of both these types is associated with La Tène Ib brooches in Beaulieu, Nogent-sur-Seine grave 12.
Bibliography: Morel, L., 1898, ‘La Champagne souterraine’ Reims, pl. 25, fig. 3; Déchelette, J., 1914, ‘Manuel d’archéologie préhistorique, celtique, et gallo-romaine’ 2, 3 ‘Second âge du fer ou épogue de La Tène’, Paris, fig. 516, 6; Jacobsthal, P., 1944, ‘Early Celtic Art’, Oxford, P43 (pl. 263).
On display: G50/dc13
2016 11 Mar-25 Sep, Edinburgh, National Museum of Scotland, 'Celts'
2015-2016 24 Sep-31 Jan, London, BM, G30, 'Celts: Art and Identity'
Britain, Europe and Prehistory
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Object reference number: BCB54528
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