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'Oldest Iron Age Gold' discovered on Staffordshire Farmland

The collection has been named the Leekfrith Iron Age Torcs. Credit: Staffordshire County Council

The collection, which is being unveiled today, has been named the Leekfrith Iron Age Torcs. It was discovered by two treasure hunters with metal detectors just before Christmas.

Experts say the unique find could date back as far as 400BC and is of huge international importance.

The four torcs are made up of three neck torcs and one bracelet Credit: Staffordshire County Council

The four torcs, made up of three neck torcs and one bracelet, and are thought to be from the continent, possibly Germany or France.

They were found by lifelong friends Mark Hambleton and Joe Kania in December. The pair have said they plan to split any proceeds with the farming family which owns the 640 acres of land where the find was made.

Joe Kania on the left and Mark Hambleton on the right. Credit: Staffordshire County Council

Staffordshire County Council Leader, Philip Atkins, said:

This amazing find of gold torcs in the North of the county is quite simply magical and we look forward to sharing the secrets and story they hold in the years to come.

– Staffordshire County Council Leader, Philip Atkins
The unique find is probably the earliest Iron Age gold work ever discovered in Britain. Credit: Staffordshire County Council

Experts have been assessing the find:

This unique find is of international importance. It dates to around 400–250 BC, and is probably the earliest Iron Age gold work ever discovered in Britain.

The torcs were probably worn by wealthy and powerful women, perhaps people from the continent who had married into the local community. Piecing together how these objects came to be carefully buried in a Staffordshire field will give us an invaluable insight into life in Iron Age Britain.

– Dr Julia Farley, Curator of British & European Iron Age Collections for the British Museum
The treasure was found about 45 miles north of Hammerwich, near Lichfield. Credit: Staffordshire County Council

The treasure was found about 45 miles north of Hammerwich, near Lichfield, the site of the 2009 discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard. That is the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found and perhaps the most famous discovery made by a metal detectorist.

An inquest will be held in North Staffordshire at 11am today and a coroner will rule if the Leekfrith Iron Age Torcs are treasure.