The Earliest Example Of Iron Age Gold Work Unearthed In UK

First Posted: Mar 02, 2017 03:40 AM EST

Treasure hunters discovered an ancient gold jewelry in the farmland in Staffordshire in December 2016. It is believed that it is the earliest example of Iron Age gold work ever found in the U.K.

The discovery was led by Mark Hambleton and Joe Kania. Using the metal detectors, they found three torcs, which are twisted metal necklace and a bracelet. The two metal detectorists handed the jewelry to the U.K. government-funded Portable Antiquities Scheme.

The finds were dubbed as the "Leek Frith Torcs," which probably dated 400 B.C. or about 2,500 years old. They might come from Germany or France, according to Fox News.

Julia Farley, the museum's curator of British and European Iron Age collections, said that the ancient gold jewelry is of "unique find of international importance." She further said that the torcs were probably worn by wealthy and powerful women, perhaps people from the Continent who had married into the local community. She added that piecing together how these objects came to be carefully buried in Staffordshire field will give people an invaluable insight into life in Iron Age Britain.

The torcs were found in different locations, about 1 meter apart and buried in the ground. The torcs' gold content was about 80 percent. Each torc weighs about 230 grams and 31 grams. "Even as scrap, that's still worth a bob or two," said coroner Ian Smith, who led the inquest. An item must be more than 300 years old or have a precious metal content greater than 10 percent to be declared treasure, according to BBC News.

Mr. Smith also said that this must rank as one of the most exciting treasure finds he has ever dealt with -- not quite in the same league as the Staffordshire Hoard. On the other hand, he described it as exciting.

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