Snettisham gold tubular torc

Contributed by Norwich Castle Museum

A gold tubular torc from Snettisham. © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service

On discovery, this was dismissed as a 'piece of brass bedstead'.This rare and magnificent tubular gold torc was part of the first discovery made at Snettisham, in November 1948, which became known as the Snettisham Treasure. Subsequent discoveries of gold, silver and bronze items at the site have made this this the biggest collection of Iron Age Celtic metalwork ever discovered in the British Isles and the Treasure is unique in western Europe. This example was found by chance during ploughing and initially discarded as rubbish.

Torcs were a form of elaborate jewellery that were worn around the necks of tribal leaders and other important people within Celtic society. The tubular variety is extremely rare and is not as heavy as some other types. It comes apart and was intended to be worn on an intermittent basis, probably during tribal ceremonies.

This torc and the Snettisham Treasure reinforce a developing picture of west Norfolk having been a focus of exceptional wealth in the first century BC.

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First century BC.


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