Saturday, February 4, 2012

The History of the Torc - Debras Divine Designs

                                                           Gold From Age of Iron

I wanted to share some of the history of the Torc or Torque (if you are French or British!)

Oxford Dictionary defines the following:
Torc: a neck ornament consisting of a band of twisted metal, worn especially by the ancient Gauls and Britons.                                                            French: from Latin torques, from torquÄ“re: to twist
Torque: A twisting Force such as would lead to a cause in rotation. Often used by a mechanic.
 Photograph by David Cheskin, PA Wire/AP
For our purposes, I will refer to these ancient neck pieces of jewelry as a "Torc".

Edinburgh's National Museum of Scotland acquired this very orngate pre-Roman gold neck torc, photo’d above shown on March 21 2010.  The torc dates from between the third and first century B.C.

This amateur metal detector named David Booth found the treasure on his first time out just seven steps from his car!!!! Booth was searching in Stirling, in central Scotland, when he made the discovery. This one pictured above is an intricate design made of fine wires twisted together and was proposed to be made by "someone trained in the Greek or Roman world," according to the National Museum. The torc find is valued at £462,000 (U.S. $741,000)

These torcs found above were found in West Yorkshire, or Leeds in November 2011. The torcs' finders were Andrew Green and Shaun Scott, on separate occasions, but within metres of one another in the bed of a stream at Towton near Tadcaster. Towton is a place where a huge bloody battle took place in March 29 1461 for the monarchy where Englishman fought against Englishman. It has a very famous English history as the scene of the bloodiest conflict ever to take place in this country, during the Wars of the Roses. It is said that 28,000 men died that day.

It is believed that these may have belonged to one of the Inceni Tribes from Norfolk. These torcs are temporarily on display at the Yorkshire Museum at York where the town is now trying to raise £60,000 to keep the Iron Age torcs, or bracelets on permanent display.

The Department of Prehistory & Europe has a very interesting torc style on display in the Britain and Europe (800BC – AD43) gallery. They have the Newark Torc alongside the British Museum’s own ‘Sedgeford Torc’, found in 1965. Both torcs date to the pre-Roman Iron Age and are composed of twisted gold wire strands attached to hollow terminals, embellished with ‘La Tene’ decoration. This design allowed for a natural flex in the band to accommodate the twisting action necessary to slip the decoration around the wearer’s neck.
                          The Newark Torc is the complete Torc pictured above left,
                                    and also photographed on it’s own to the right.

The pairing of the torcs from Newark and Sedgeford enables visitors to appreciate both the magnificence of a complete example and the complex craftsmanship behind its construction, for historic damage to the Sedgeford Torc has created the effect of an exploded schematic and shows clearly the object’s separate components. The larger section of the torc has been slightly unwound and makes it easier to see the technique involved in braiding the gold wires; similarly, the dislocated terminal (found separately, in 2004 by the Sedgeford Historical Archaeology Research Project) allows visitors to see the way that the wires were joined together. Just what we artist’s love to see in museum pieces!!!

The Newark Torc was found in April 2005 and declared Treasure in May of that year. Subsequently acquired by Newark and Sherwood District Council, it is awaiting the creation of a suitable display space in the region.

In the meantime, the exhibit at the British Museum assumes a place across the corridor from a larger showcase displaying the Great Torc from Snettisham and an assortment of torcs of different styles. As such, the Newark Torc nicely complements the BM’s Iron Age collection, and it is sure to have an even more significant impact when it goes home to Nottinghamshire

Following are some of the lovely torc examples I found on

DebrasDivineDesigns on Etsy

DebrasDivineDesigns on Etsy

DebrasDivineDesigns on Etsy

Thanks  for reading,


Tracy said...

Wow! This was so informative! Thanks for sharing. Gorgeous modern choices as well. I LOVE the last torc on the page. Its amazing.

TheBrassHussy said...

Great info about jewelry and history! Lovely designs!

TheSilverBear said...

This is a great blog, Deb, & you've found some super photos. Well done!

DG Jewelry Designs said...

Great post and very informative, Deb. Well done.

SendingLoveGallery said...

fascinating! I love learingin about jewelry discoveries in archaeology - and these are such beautiful ancient & modern examples~

MadeByTammy said...

Wowza! Fantastic info and jewelry!

Unknown said...

Great blog post! So interesting!