After being kept safe by the British Museum one of the most important artefacts ever found in Nottinghamshire has returned home. A 2,000 year old Iron Age Torc has gone on display at the National Civil War Centre in Newark just a few miles from where it was discovered on farmland in 2005 by local metal detectorist Maurice Richardson.
The exquisite object - regarded by experts has one of the top two ever found in Britain – is made from gold and silver and would have been worn around the neck as the ultimate status symbol.
Soon after it was found and declared a treasure the Torc was bought by Newark and Sherwood District Council for £350,000 to preserve the area's heritage and prevent it from going overseas.
However, at the time there was no suitable place to display it locally so it was loaned to the British Museum, who put it on show in 2010.
Now with the opening of the £5.4 million National Civil War Centre in the restored Old Magnus Building on Appletongate – backed with £3.5 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) – the object is set to become the Torc of the Town in Newark.
Michael Constantine, Manager of the National Civil War Centre, explained:
“We now have a world class facility so it's the perfect place for the Torc to be shown in all its glory. Although most of our museum is dedicated to the 17th century British Civil Wars we have also created galleries devoted to rest of the area's history, stretching over 7,000 years and the glint of gold will draw many visitors to the Torc. In future we will loan the object to other prestigious venues to take part in major exhibitions – this is part of our obligation as custodian of this rare relic. However, it will now always return to Newark.”
Maurice Richardson has been metal detecting for more than 40 years said after the find:
"I got a signal so got down on my stomach and scraped away at the soil. When I saw a glint of gold my heartbeat went up, but I was still fairly cautious. It took me another half an hour to get it out of the ground - it looked stunning, almost as good as new. We now know it's one of the best of its kind ever found anywhere. I always hoped it would come back to Newark so the public could admire its sheer beauty and also enjoy the thrill of its discovery.”
Other non Civil War objects on display include a Anglo Saxon gold cross, Roman remains and the Newark press used to print the first published poems of Lord Bryon.
Admission is £7 adults, £6 concessions and £3 children and open times are 10am to 5pm daily.