Iron Age gold
The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent, home of our Stoke-on-Trent YAC, has launched an appeal to raise the funds to acquire what are believed to be the earliest examples of Iron Age gold ever discovered in the UK.
Three necklaces and a bracelet were found by metal detectorists on farmland in the Staffordshire Moorlands in December 2016 and declared 'Treasure' by the Government in February 2017. An archaeological find is 'Treasure' if it is over 300 years old and made mostly of gold or silver. Hoards of coins and some other important archaeological finds can also be declared 'Treasure'. You can read more about treasure, and the Treasure Act, on the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) website, which was set up to help people to record their archaeological finds.
The Treasure Act has just celebrated its 20th birthday. The Telegraph newspaper marked the anniversary by asking members of the public to vote for their favourite objects and collections of objects that have been declared 'Treasure' since 1996. You can read about the 'Top 20' objects picked on the Telegraph website.
If an object is declared to be 'Treasure', then a museum has the right to buy it for their collection, but they must raise enough money to do so. And it is this that the Potteries Musem & Art Gallery are trying to do right now, in order to buy the Leekfrith torcs for the museum's collection, so that they can be enjoyed by local people and visitors.
The Leekfrith torcs
The group of awesome objects includes:
• a plain gold loop torc with thistle-shaped terminals (or ends)
• a gold torc made from a pair of twisted wires with simple clasps
• a plain gold loop torc (in two parts) with small thistle-head terminals
• a gold bracelet with twisted body and flaring terminals
All of the objects are in good condition, although a little bit bent. Archaeologists think that they may have been hit by a farmer's plough, causing the damage. It is believed that the torcs were made between 400 and 250 BC, making them some of the earliest examples of Celtic art ever found in Britain.
The pieces of jewellery are very like objects found in France and Germany. Archaeologists think that the objects were made on the continent, and were brought to Britain as either trade goods or even as a gift. As Dr Julia Farley of the British Museum said, “The discovery of this early group of continental torcs in Staffordshire has the potential to transform our understanding of this region in the Iron Age.”
Help the campaign
The Potteries Museum needs to raise £325,000 to buy the Leekfrith torcs for their collection. Thay have until 5th December 2017 to raise the purchase price. A fundraising campaign and public giving appeal has been launched and The Friends of the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery has established an online giving page: www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/leekfrithtorcs
Can you help the campaign?