A 2,200 year old Iron Age Torc has gone on display at the National Civil War Centre in Newark just a few miles from where it was discovered on Nottinghamshire farmland in 2005 by local metal detectorist Maurice Richardson.
The exquisite object – regarded by experts has one of the best ever found in the world – is made from 125 feet of wound gold wire and would have been worn around the neck as the ultimate status symbol. One tribe in particular has been linked to the making of this kind of Torc – the Iceni of Norfolk, whose most famous ruler was Queen Boudica who led a major revolt against Roman rule in 60AD and who is often depicted wearing a very similar design. However, by that time the Newark Torc would already have been over 300 years old.
Torc of the Town
Soon after it was found and declared treasure in 2005 the Torc was bought by Newark and Sherwood District Council , however, at the time there was no suitable place to display it locally so it was sent to the British Museum.
Now with the opening of the £5.4 million National Civil War Centre in the restored Old Magnus Building– backed with £3.5 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund – the object is set to become of the Torc of the Town.
Maurice Richardson, who has been metal detecting for more than 40 years and previously had never found anything worth more than £100, said:
“It was very late in the day and I was on the verge of packing in but I thought I’d just give it another go. I got a signal while sweeping so got down on my stomach and scraped away with my hands to remove about two foot of soil. Then a glint of gold came into view. It took me another half an hour to get it out of the ground because I was so nervous. It came out as though I had bought it from the shop yesterday. It shone, it was solid and perfect in every way. My wife could not believe it when I got home – she thought it was a bit of an old brass bedstead! I always hoped it would come back to Newark so the public could admire its sheer beauty and craftsmanship.”
Michael Constantine, Manager of the National Civil War Centre, added:
“We now have a world class facility so it’s the perfect place for the Torc to be shown in all its glory. Although most of our museum is dedicated to the 17th century British Civil Wars we have also created galleries devoted to rest of the area’s history, stretching over 7,000 years. But the glint of gold will draw many visitors across to the Torc. In future we will loan the object to other prestigious venues to take part in major exhibitions – this is part of our obligation as custodian of this rare relic. But it will now always return to Newark.”
Admission to the National Civil War Centre is £7 adults, £6 concessions and £3 children.