This remarkable gold torc, a type of metal band worn around the neck or body, was found by a metal detectorist in a field in East Cambridgeshire in 2015.

It dates back to the Middle Bronze Age (more than 3,000 years ago) and is one of the largest and heaviest torcs ever found in the British Isles. The piece is made of three components: two trumpet-shaped terminals and a long, spiral-twisted gold bar. The workmanship demonstrated is both highly skilled and aesthetically pleasing. Most previously discovered torcs are much smaller in scale, which raises the question of how this one was used. Experts have suggested that it might have been worn by a pregnant woman or used to adorn an animal about to be sacrificed. Ely Museum collects items that reflect the history and heritage of East Cambridgeshire. Among existing holdings are tools, weaponry and gold jewellery from the Bronze Age period, all found locally. This nationally significant archaeological find now becomes the first torc to enter the collection and the centrepiece of its Prehistory Gallery.

Provenance

Found on farmland near Ely by a metal detector in September 2015 with permission of the landowner; reported to the Finds Liaison Officer for Cambridgeshire; declared Treasure.


Ely Museum

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