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The Great Dunham torc

Started by gash, September 25, 2019, 10:13:13 pm

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The Iron Age Snettisham Treasure, a hoard of ornate 1st-century BC neck rings known as 'torcs' (see CA 126 and 135), is one of the most celebrated archaeological discoveries made in Norfolk. This form of adornment belongs to a rather longer tradition, however - the gold torc that has just been acquired by the county's Museums Service is over 1,000 years older.

Found at Great Dunham during gas pipe-laying works in 2017, this ostentatious artefact belongs to the Middle Bronze Age (c.1300-1100 BC). Gold objects are rare finds for all phases of the Bronze Age throughout Britain, and while they do seem to be more common in East Anglia, this is nevertheless the first gold torc of this date to be found in Norfolk for a quarter of a century.

The torc (which has just been acquired by Norfolk Museums Service following a successful fundraising campaign) had been buried a long way from the likely origin of its raw material; during the Middle Bronze Age the main sources for gold seem to have been in Wales and Ireland, with evidence for prehistoric extraction also seen in Cornwall and the Leadhills area of Scotland. The Great Dunham find's presence in Norfolk, hundreds of miles from any of these places, offers tantalising hints of the wealth and power enjoyed by at least the upper levels of the area's Bronze Age population, who evidently boasted far-reaching trade connections and social contacts that allowed them to acquire such a spectacular object.

This discovery adds to an already intriguing picture of Norfolk's Middle Bronze Age wealth being apparently concentrated in the western half of the region; while finds of other kinds of metalwork from this period are scattered fairly evenly across the county, if you single out Bronze Age torcs you find a distinctive bias towards the west. The reason behind this distribution remains something of a conundrum - particularly given that it is the eastern part of the county that has the more fertile land. Equally enigmatic is the lack of settlement evidence for this period in Norfolk; it appears that despite such communities' apparent influence, they still lived in temporary structures.

Full article here :  http://archaeology.co.uk/articles/the-great-dunham-torc.htm?fbclid=IwAR0bPOY_WPy6nVErVUv9eEpHV748H5hWON-Y24WabL96KHzNepjL_2qa-i0
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