Learn about the history of East Cambridge’s Gold Torc before it features on BBC One’s Civilisations series

PUBLISHED: 07:37 22 April 2018

Cambridgeshire County Council's  Finds Liaison Officer Helen Fowler, Ray Mears and Ely Museum's Assistant Curator Sara Adderson outside Ely Museum.

Cambridgeshire County Council's Finds Liaison Officer Helen Fowler, Ray Mears and Ely Museum's Assistant Curator Sara Adderson outside Ely Museum.

Archant

The East Cambridgeshire Gold Torc is set to make a television appearance as part of BBC’s Civilisations Series next week.

The torc, which dates back to the Middle Bronze Age, was found in a Cambridgeshire field in 2016.The torc, which dates back to the Middle Bronze Age, was found in a Cambridgeshire field in 2016.

Discovered in 2015, the treasure was filmed at its home in Ely Museum for BBC One’s civilisation stories ‘Treasures of the Bronze Age with Ray Mears’ programme. The BBC One show, which airs on Monday April 30 at 7.30pm, will focus on regional art finds across England.

The programme looks at prehistoric finds and focuses on their workmanship and creativity to explore how past artefacts play a role in shaping identities.

Found buried in a muddy field, the Gold Torc was brought to Cambridgeshire County Council’s Finds Liaison Officer (FLO), by the finder in a briefcase to be reported as treasure under the Treasure Act 1996.

The treasure case was processed by the FLO and county council’s coroner’s service before being formally declared ‘treasure’ in summer 2016.

The Bronze Age item, also known as the East Cambridgeshire Gold Torc, weighs 732 grams of almost pure gold - making it one of the heaviest and largest torcs ever discovered.

Torcs are thought to have been worn as a symbol of high status in both the Bronze (2350-800BC) and Iron Age (800BC - AD43), however how this Torc was used/worn is a mystery for archaeologists due to its shape on discovery and large size compared to similar finds.

Helen Fowler, Cambridgeshire County Council’s finds liaison officer, said: “Archaeology has a tradition that every discovery results in raising more questions. This discovery is no exception and many theories have been put forward as to what it may have been used for, or worn by, due to its large size.

“Basic things such as photographing, weighing and transporting such a large and important artefact all needed to be resolved before the end of the day.”

Ely Museum acquired the Gold Torc for their collection by raising £220,000 with grants from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and The Art Fund alongside private donations.

Elie Hughes, Ely Museum curator, said: “It is a beautiful and fascinating object which provokes as many questions as it answers. It will be a highlight of our prehistory gallery.”

The East Cambridgeshire Torc is available for public viewing at Ely Museum along with other finds from the Bronze Age. The summer opening times are Monday to Saturday 10.30am-5pm and 1-5pm on Sundays.

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