Sedgeford Torc

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Coordinates: 52°54′12″N 0°32′45″E / 52.903467°N 0.545698°E / 52.903467; 0.545698

The Sedgeford Torc
Sedgeford gold torc and terminal.JPG
Material Gold
Created 200BC-50BC
Period/culture Iron Age, La Tène
Place Sedgeford
Present location Room 50, British Museum, London
Registration 1968,1004.1

The Sedgeford Torc is a broken Iron Age gold torc found near the village of Sedgeford in Norfolk. The main part of the torc was found during harrowing of a field in 1965,[1] and the missing terminal was found by Dr. Steve Hammond during fieldwork by the Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project in 2004. The torc is now displayed at the British Museum.[2]


The torc dates from 200-50 BC[3] and is made from twisted gold wires. Forty-eight 2mm wires were twisted in pairs to form 24 wires. Then three of these paired wires were twisted together in the opposite direction to make a rope (comprising six original wires). These eight thicker ropes were then twisted together to form the body of the torc. In total, 25 metres of gold wire was used to form the torc. The hollow gold terminals, in a ring shape, were cast using the lost wax method, and is decorated in the La Tène style with moulded raised decoration of trumpet voids and circles, highlighted with pellets and cold hammering.[2][3] The torc is similar to the Great Torc from Snettisham and also to the Ipswich torcs, all of which are also in the British Museum. It is considered so similar to the Newark Torc, found in Newark-on-Trent in Nottinghamshire, that it might have been made by the same craftsman.[4]

The torc was buried deliberately, and as such is considered a hoarded object. It may have been broken when it was buried, or broken at a later date by ploughing. It is thought to have been buried in about 75 BC.[2]


The major part of the torc was found on 6 May 1965 in a field at West Hall Farm in Sedgeford, Norfolk, while the field was being lightly harrowed. As the harrow only penetrated a few inches, it is thought that the torc had been brought to near the surface by earlier deep ploughing. The findspot is only two miles west of the site of the large Snettisham Hoard, which included many gold torcs. The torc was declared treasure trove during an inquest held at Sedgeford on 29 December 1966. The torc was acquired for the British Museum through the Duchy of Lancaster and with the assistance of the Christy Trust, and the finder, farmworker A. E. Middleton (landowner B. G. Campbell), was awarded the full market value of £3,300. The British Museum arranged for a replica to be made, to be displayed at the Norwich Castle Museum.

In Easter 2004 the missing terminal was found during an archaeological fieldwalking survey, using metal detectors, arranged by the Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project.[5] The terminal was found by retired chemistry lecturer Dr. Steve Hammond about 400 metres from the findspot of the main body of the torc.[6] The terminal was also declared treasure trove and purchased for the British Museum with assistance from The Art Fund.[3] It has since been reunited with the rest of the Sedgeford Torc at the British Museum.

Further reading[edit]

  • I. M. Stead, Celtic Art in Britain before the Roman Conquest (London, The British Museum Press, 1987, revised edition 1997)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Brailsford, J. W. (Spring 1971). "The Sedgeford Torc". The British Museum Quarterly. 35 (1/4): 16–19. JSTOR 4423067. 
  2. ^ a b c "Gold torc". British Museum. Archived from the original on 2009-12-04. Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  3. ^ a b c "Sedgeford torc terminal". The Art Fund. Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  4. ^ Stephen Adams (2008-11-19). "Metal detector man's £350,000 Iron Age neckband". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  5. ^ "The Sedgeford Torc Terminal". Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project. Archived from the original on 2009-01-05. Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  6. ^ Maev Kennedy (2007-01-18). "'Unsung heroes of heritage' extolled for unearthing hoard of treasure". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-12-01. 

External links[edit]