The Great Dunham Torc
- Art Funded
- British Museum/Dept. for Culture, Media and Sport
This Middle Bronze Age torc – a type of jewellery that would have been worn around the neck – was discovered at Great Dunham, Norfolk, during excavations for gas pipes in 2017.
The main hoop of the piece is in twisted gold, and there is a trumpet-shaped terminal at either end of the torc.
Gold objects from the Bronze Age are extremely rare, and this torc is one of the earliest tems of adornment to survive from antiquity in the British Isles. The raw material for such pieces came principally from Ireland and Wales, though other sources have been identified in Cornwall and Scotland. The location of these sources demonstrates the far-flung contacts and exchange mechanisms open to the highest members of society in the second millennium BC.
The reason for the torc’s burial remains a mystery. It is possible that it was used as part of a funeral ritual, or consigned to the ground for safekeeping.
Norwich Castle Museum holds one of England’s foremost collections of Bronze Age material, including three similar twisted-gold neck torcs that were discovered in Norfolk. The Great Dunham Torc now joins them there.
Found in 2017 by the landowners who were digging a trench on their land. The find was then reported to the Finds Liaison officer and subsequently declared Treasure.