STAFFORDSHIRE: Two friends and erstwhile ‘ Metal Detectives ‘ find Oldest’ Iron Age gold work just below the ground in Leekfrith last December – @AceHistoryNews

#AceHistoryNews – Feb.28: Two friends have unearthed jewellery which could be the oldest Iron Age gold discovered in Britain.

Mark Hambleton, who went back to his metal detecting hobby on his father’s advice, made the find with Joe Kania on Staffordshire Moorlands farmland.

The three necklaces and bracelet, named the Leekfrith Iron Age Torcs, are believed to be about 2,500 years old.

Julia Farley of the British Museum said: “This unique find is of international importance.”

‘Invaluable insight’

‘Oldest’ Iron Age gold work in Britain found in Staffordshire Dr Farley, the museum’s curator of British and European Iron Age collections, said: “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.”

The four torcs were found separately, about 1m apart, buried near the surface in Leekfrith last December.

Mr Hambleton said: “I used to go metal detecting with my dad when I was young and he said to me ‘why are you bothering fishing? You should be back in those fields’.

“I am so glad we took his advice and pleased of course that he got the chance to see these amazing pieces and prove he was right all along.”

The jewellery has been handed to the Portable Antiquities Scheme, which is part of Birmingham Museums.

An inquest will decide whether the pieces are treasure and they will then be provisionally valued.

The friends said they would share any proceeds with the family living where the finds were made.

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