An archaeological find on Staffordshire farmland is believed to include the earliest examples of Iron Age gold ever discovered in Britain.
The collection, which has been named the Leekfrith Iron Age Torcs, was discovered by two metal detectorists just before Christmas.
At an unveiling of the torcs press conference (February 28), experts said the unique find could date back as far as 400BC and was of huge international importance.
VIDEO – THE STORY OF THE FIND
Staffordshire County Council Leader, Philip Atkins, said:
“As a county and as a council we are both proud and unbelievably lucky to be home to some truly exceptional finds, including of course the Staffordshire Hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold.
“This amazing find of gold torcs in the North of the county is quite simply magical and we look forward to sharing the secrets and story they hold in the years to come.”
The four torcs, made up of three neck torcs and one bracelet, and are thought to be from the continent, possibly Germany or France.
They were found by detectorists Mark Hambleton and Joe Kania in December and handed over to Portable Antiquities Scheme, part of Birmingham Museums, which manages the voluntary recording of finds.
Expert Dr Julia Farley, Curator of British & European Iron Age Collections for the British Museum has assessed the remarkable find.
“This unique find is of international importance. It dates to around 400–250 BC, and is probably the earliest Iron Age gold work ever discovered in Britain.
“The torcs were probably worn by wealthy and powerful women, perhaps people from the continent who had married into the local community. Piecing together how these objects came to be carefully buried in a Staffordshire field will give us an invaluable insight into life in Iron Age Britain.”
Archaeologists from Stoke-On-Trent City Council led the site investigations on the farmland in the Staffordshire Moorlands and say it is a “complete” find with no evidence of any other pieces on the land.
Abi Brown, Deputy Leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said:
“This city is steeped in arts, history and culture and on the very day we submit our formal expression of interest to become UK City of Culture in 2021 this find will renew pride and wonder in the area.
“Stoke-on-Trent is proud to hold, care for and display the archaeological heritage from the whole county, a role it has held for nearly 40 years.
“We have worked hard with partners to ensure such magnificent finds remain in Staffordshire and we would be thrilled for The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery to become custodians of another such important international discovery.”
An inquest was held in North Staffordshire on 28 February 2017 and Coroner Ian Smith ruled that the pieces are treasure.
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