Chapter Golden flange of the Bronze Age, twisted torc was discovered in a field near Mistley in Essex by a metal detector. It was reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme three years ago, but it is only now that a coroner’s inquest has formally recognized it as a treasure. This is the first Bronze Age gold torc found in Essex ever recorded in the Portable Antiquities Scheme.
Twisted torcs with flanges were made in the Penard ironwork phase of the Middle Bronze Age (c. 1300–1150 BC). They were made by cutting four longitudinal cuts into a solid gold bar to form an x-shaped cross section, and then turning the ends of the bar left and right to create a twisted effect. The ends were then forged into pipe clamps.
The twisted strip of the Essex fragment is about 5.8 inches long, with one 2.4-inch long pipe end still intact. The total length of just over eight inches is thought by archaeologists to be less than half the length that was intact. It is dented at several points along the rolled edges, likely caused by agricultural work long after it was shelved. It also has three bends, and the sharp end of the break, most likely, is also modern. The terminal, which was originally supposed to be folded back at the junction with the twisted tape, has been straightened out.
(Finds liaison officer Laurie) Rogerson said that a “highly skilled” jeweler worked on it, and he “would have to twist it, it’s a really soft stuff, so it could break.”
“He or she would have known the right moment to stop before it broke making those turns,” she added.
British Museum researchers subjected Torque to X-ray fluorescence analysis to determine its composition. This is 75-77% gold, 18-20% silver and the remaining 5-3% copper. This makes it 18 carat gold.
Now that it has been declared a treasure, an appraisal commission will determine its fair market value, and the local museum will be given the option to pay the appraisal amount to keep the torc. The money will be divided 50/50 between the finder and the landowner. The Colchester Museum hopes to acquire it for its collection.