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Rare Bronze Age jewellery unearthed in Norfolk to finally go on display

PUBLISHED: 15:04 29 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:02 29 August 2019

A Bronze Age gold torc found in Great Dunham has been acquired by Norfolk Museums Service and will go on display at Norwich Castle in 2020. Picture: Norfolk Museums Service

A Bronze Age gold torc found in Great Dunham has been acquired by Norfolk Museums Service and will go on display at Norwich Castle in 2020. Picture: Norfolk Museums Service

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A 3,000-year-old piece of jewellery discovered in a Norfolk field is set to finally go on display at Norwich Castle.

A Bronze Age gold torc found in Great Dunham will go on display at Norwich Castle in 2020. Picture: Ella WilkinsonA Bronze Age gold torc found in Great Dunham will go on display at Norwich Castle in 2020. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

The gold torc - a type of neck ring - dates from the Middle Bronze Age and was unearthed in a paddock in Great Dunham during gas works laying a gas pipe two years ago.

It was the first of its kind to be discovered in Norfolk for a quarter of a century and added to evidence suggesting the western half of Norfolk was particularly wealthy during this period.

And now, following a tireless fundraising campaign and grants totalling £23,000, the torc has been purchased by Norfolk Museums Service and can be viewed by the public for the first time.

Dr Tim Pestell, senior curator of archaeology at Norfolk Museums Service, said: "The discovery and purchase of the Great Dunham torc is an important development in our understanding of Bronze Age East Anglia.

A Bronze Age gold torc found in Great Dunham has been acquired by Norfolk Museums Service and will go on display at Norwich Castle in 2020. Picture: Norfolk Museums ServiceA Bronze Age gold torc found in Great Dunham has been acquired by Norfolk Museums Service and will go on display at Norwich Castle in 2020. Picture: Norfolk Museums Service

"This region is especially rich in Bronze Age gold and, as such, preserving examples of artefacts which illustrate this wealth and cultural achievement is really important.

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"We are incredibly grateful to all who made this acquisition possible. Their generosity means this find can enter a museum collection, enabling the public to engage with this fascinating story."

Gold objects from all phases of the Bronze Age are exceptionally rare, making the Great Dunham torc a hugely significant find.

The jewellery has a four flange twisted bar design and is one of the earliest types of adornment to survive from antiquity.

Others have been discovered in Norfolk, the most famous being Snettisham Great Torc hailing from the Iron Age and now housed in the British Museum.

Following a period at Colchester Castle's Adorn exhibition until February 2020, the Great Dunham torc will make its return to Norfolk to be displayed in the Boudica gallery at Norwich Castle.

Chris Sanham, chairman of the Friends of Norwich Museums, added: "Our members are proud to support the purchase of the Great Dunham torc which will enable this nationally significant object to be interpreted within its regional context."

- Norfolk Museums Service acquired the Great Dunham torc courtesy of grants from Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, Art Fund, the Friends of the Norwich Museums and The Headley Trust.



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