December 11, 2014 – A new, exciting find has been discovered in the Island’s Celtic coin hoard. For the last two weeks, the Jersey Heritage hoard conservation team have been excavating in an area known to contain gold jewellery. Late last week, one end of a solid gold torc was uncovered, which is considerably larger than anything previously found.
A torc is a large, rigid neck ring. This example has a massive decorative ‘terminal’, which is where the torc was probably locked closed around the owner’s neck. This terminal is formed from two solid gold wheels, each about 4cm across and 1cm wide. So far, 10cm of the curved gold collar has been uncovered and it is not yet known how complete it is. Its wholeness will be discovered in the next few weeks as the coins currently hiding it will be painstakingly recorded and removed.
A jewellery expert has been assisting with interpreting the discovery. Dr Andrew Fitzpatrick is an Iron Age jewellery expert who has already been involved in studying jewellery found in other Jersey hoards. He has identified comparable terminals in examples found in 2nd century BC hoards at Bergien, Belgium and Niederzier, Germany.
At the end of this clearing period, the torc will be scanned in place to record its position to fractions of a millimetre before being removed, probably along with some of the other jewellery surrounding it. In this one shoe-box sized area, two other solid gold torcs can be seen, one gold plated and one of an unknown alloy, along with a silver brooch and a crushed sheet gold tube.
A small stone has also been uncovered, possibly of local granite. This may be no more than a pebble in the field that fell into the treasure pit during the burial, but, as it is an odd shape and size, its purpose will be investigated.
More information about the ancient treasure in Jersey and the work of Jersey Heritage you may find in a previous article in CoinsWeekly …
And the blog of Neil Mahrer, the Museums Conservator, may be of particular interest to you too.