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Priceless golden torc from Snettisham hoards could go on display at King’s Lynn Museum

PUBLISHED: 12:16 03 October 2017 | UPDATED: 12:16 03 October 2017

The Great Torc found at Snettisham. Picture: Archant library

The Great Torc found at Snettisham. Picture: Archant library

Archant © 2005

One of Norfolk’s most legendary treasures could return to the county for a special exhibition.

The late Tom Rout, who found the Great Torc in 1950. Picture: Archant library The late Tom Rout, who found the Great Torc in 1950. Picture: Archant library

Curators are hoping to loan items from the Snettisham hoards to go on display at Lynn Museum.

They are in talks with the British Museum, where the priceless Iron Age relics dating back to between 50 and 100BC are kept.

The collection of more than 200 gold neck rings or torcs, gold bracelets, coins and ingots, were discovered over a number of years from 1948 in a field at Snettisham.

Earlier this year, Lynn Museum loaned some of the Pentney Brooches, ornate Anglo Saxon jewellery discovered by a gravedigger in a churchyard near Lynn in 1970, from the British Museum. Thousands came to see them.

Curator Oliver Bone said that talks were now under way with regard to loaning some of the hoard.

“It’s early days but we had a great link-up with the Pentney Brooches and we wanted to follow that up,” he said.

“The Snettisham finds were of national and international significance, it would be great to display one of the torcs at Lynn Museum.

“It really is a great asset of the British Museum. What is really powerful is to have these national and international objects that were found just up the road from Lynn.”

One theory is that the incredible finds - which totalled more than 40kg of gold - were the Royal treasure of the Iceni tribe, who ruled East Anglia at the time the jewellery was made.

Its centrepiece is truly fit for a king or queen. The Great Torc, an intricate golden collar formed from interwoven ropes made of 64 gold and silver wires, weighs more than 1kg. Its golden ends were cast with intricate swirling patterns.

The British Museum describes the torc, which is believed to date back to around 75BC, as “one of the most elaborate golden objects from the ancient world”.

It had lay buried for almost 2000 years before being found by farmer Thomas Rout as he ploughed a chalky field at Ken Hill, close to what is now the modern-day A149 coast road.

Also collectively known as the Snettisham Treasure, the British Museum says the hoards form the largest deposit of gold, silver and bronze artefacts dating from the Iron Age ever to have been found in Europe. Who they belonged to and why they were buried remains a mystery to this day.

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