Yorkshire Museum bids to save first Iron Age bracelets ever found in north of England

By Culture24 Reporter | 22 November 2011
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A photo of a woman holding two torc-like gold bracelets
Natalie McCaul, the assistant curator of archaeology at the Yorkshire Museum, takes a look at the Brigante torcs© Kippa Matthews
A pair of gold bracelets from more than 2,000 years ago belonged to royalty from an Iron Age tribe and symbolise the "serious wealth" of Pre-Roman York, according to experts backing a bid by the Yorkshire Museum to raise £60,000 to keep them.

Metal detectorists discovered the solid gold torcs, which have been declared the first jewellery from the period ever found in the region, within metres of each other at the bottom of a stream near the market town of Tadcaster, once ruled by the Brigante people.

Similar finds, such as the Snettisham Hoard, have usually materialised as relics of the Iceni culture in Norfolk, but experts are speculating that these individual torcs may have been gifts, traded jewellery or even the spoils of war between the tribes.

A photo of two circular gold bracelets on a black surface
The torcs will remain in Yorkshire if the museum can raise £60,000 to buy them
© Kippa Matthews
Their emergence in a river also increases the likelihood of the torcs being washed away from a burial site.

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

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

"It shows that there was serious wealth here before the Romans – something which until now we could only speculate.

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