Thursday, November 24, 2011

Yorkshire Museum needs £63k to keep ancient torcs

Yorkshire Museum needs £63k to keep ancient torcs (From York Press)

A FUNDRAISING campaign to keep two rare Iron Age gold bracelets in our region has been launched by the Yorkshire Museum.

The two bracelets, known as torcs, were discovered near Tadcaster by two metal detector users in May 2010.

Archaeologists say the jewellery would have belonged to an "extremely wealthy" member of the Brigantes tribe and that the find sheds new light on the region before the arrival of the Romans.

Natalie McCaul, assistant curator of archaeology, said: "These are stunning finds and have made archaeologists and historians think again about what life was like in Yorkshire 2,000 ago.

"Until now, no-one had evidence of gold being worn as jewellery at this time in the north of England.

"For one, it shows that there was serious wealth here before the Romans, something which until now we could only speculate on.

"We hope we can now raise the money needed to make sure they stay in Yorkshire for people to enjoy."

The find was made in the bed of a stream near Towton, in May last year by Andrew Green and Shaun Scott.

The torcs are said to be similar in appearance to ones found in the Snettisham Hoard in Norfolk, which archaeologists say was most likely to have been royal treasure belonging to the Iceni.

This raises the possibility that the bracelets were spoils of war, a gift or used in trade between the two tribes.

Historians say the Brigantes were not known to deal in gold jewellery until the discovery of the torcs.

Until now the furthest north torcs had been found was in Newark, Nottinghamshire.

The first of the Towton finds has been dated to between 100BC and 70BC, while the second could be older still, say experts.

Both will be on show temporarily at the Yorkshire Museum from today until January 31 next year.

Meanwhile the Museum now is looking for any help to raise £60,000 to make sure the jewellery stays in Yorkshire.

To donate, go to the museum or visit

Natalie McCaul, the Yorkshire Museum's assistant curator of archaeology, with the 2,000-year-old gold torcs