Record Details

NHER Number:1487
Type of record:Monument
Name:Snettisham Iron Age Treasure

Summary

The Snettisham Treasure is the largest collection of Iron Age torcs found in Western Europe. Between 1948 and 1990 nearly 180 torcs, (75 of those complete and the rest fragmentary) were recovered, of varying types and materials. In addition, over 100 ingot rings/bracelets were found, as well as 170 coins, ingots and other pieces of metal. These objects are thought to have been deposited on purpose, and possibly by more than one person. They may represent the raw materials and finished pieces of a metal worker, or they may have been deposited as a religious offering.

Images

  • An Iron Age potin coin found at Snettisham.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service. NWHCM 1949.75.55.1:A
  • An Iron Age gold coin blank or flan for a quarter stater found at Snettisham.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service. NWHCM 1949.75.2:A
  • An Iron Age Gallo-Belgic D gold quarter stater found at Snettisham.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service. NWHCM 1949.76.12
  • An Iron Age East Anglian gold quarter stater found at Snettisham.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service, NWHCM 1985.171.A3:A
  • One of the torc hoards found at Snettisham.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service
  • An Iron Age gold ring terminal torc from Snettisham.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service
  • The finder of the first torcs to be discovered at Snettisham in the 1940s holding a group of torcs.  © Eastern Daily Press
  • An Iron Age gold tubular torc from Snettisham.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service
  • An Iron Age East Anglian gold "wolf" stater from Snettisham.  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service

Location

Grid Reference:Not displayed
Map Sheet:TF63SE
Parish:SNETTISHAM, WEST NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

[1]
1948-50. Excavation.
Discovery followed by excavation of Iron Age gold hoards, Roman, Middle Saxon, Late Saxon, and medieval sherds. See published report (S4).

Hoard A - Three Iron Age tubular torcs, one partial torc and a utilized pebble. See sketches (S8)-(S9) and drawings (S10)-(S12).
Hoards B and C - At least 48 Iron Age loop terminal orcs, 17 ingot-bracelets, 14 rings, coins and other miscellaneous fragments of sheet-bronze and 'cake' of gold allow and tin. See drawings (S13)-(S20) and S26).
Hoard D - An Iron Age looped terminal torc (S4).
Hoard E - An Iron Age ring terminal torc, bracelet and a terminal torc. See drawings (S21)-(S23)

See illustration (S24) for an example of a similar find.

These excavations also produced limited evidence for pre-Iron Age activity on this part of Ken Hill, although this was largely limited to an assemblage of worked flints. These include a single Mesolithic microlith (Area 1; Site 47) and a number of flakes thought to be associated with a Mesolithic industry (S28).

A significant number of Neolithic or Early Bronze Age flints were also recovered, along with 2 sherds of Beaker pottery and a Bronze Age socketed axe (S4). These finds are part of the collection of material from this work that is held by the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 1950.219). The flints have been independently examined by J. J. Wymer and R. Jacobi, who both confirmed the presence of a notable Mesolithic component to the assemblage. A range of pieces are listed in (S5), including 1 flaked axehead, 4 cores, 53 blades/flakes, 11 scrapers and 1 microlith. Three of the cores were identified by Jacobi as micro-blade cores, who described the microlith as a "superb" Class 5b with straight retouch across base. Information from (S6).

The much larger assemblage of later prehistoric flints includes the cutting edge of a Neolithic polished axehead and the pointed butt of a flaked axehead (S7).
An undated mica schist saddle quern of probable prehistoric date was also recovered (S27).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 10 December 2012.

1952. Excavation of Iron Age and Roman sherds.
1964. Iron Age torc found. See drawing (S25).
1968. Iron Age torc found.
1973. Iron Age torc found.
1983-84. Roman, Late Saxon, medieval and post medieval sherds found.
1989. Roman figurine found with metal detector, also further Iron Age torcs and coins.
1990. Further Iron Age torcs and coins in vessel found.
1992. Excavations by British Museum. Roman religious site?
See full details in files including drawings, plan and photographs.

Plan showing area of excavation in 1990-1992 at 1:1000 scale in file.
Also English translation of (S1).
A. Rogerson (NLA), 30 January 2002.

Before 8 March 2004. Metal-detecting in small area. [2].
Three Roman coins.
See list in file.
A. Rogerson (NLA), 15 April 2004.

See (S2) in file.
E. Darch (NLA), 4 February 2005.

Two fragments of electrum discovered March 2004 declared Treasure.
E. Darch (NLA), 11 March 2005.

(S3) in file.
A. Rogerson (NLA), 14 May 2007.

23 June 2009.
Designation proposal submitted to English Heritage.
D. Gurney (NLA), 7 December 2009.

Monument Types

  • FINDSPOT (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Beaker - 2300 BC to 1700 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • ENCLOSURE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • METAL WORKING SITE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • TEMPLE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • BLADE (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • BLADE CORE (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • FLAKE (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • FLAKED AXEHEAD (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • MICROLITH (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Mesolithic - 10000 BC to 4001 BC)
  • POT (Neolithic - 4000 BC to 2351 BC)
  • POT (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • SOCKETED AXEHEAD (Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC)
  • POT (Beaker - 2300 BC to 1700 BC)
  • COIN (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • HOARD (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • MINIATURE OBJECT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • SHIELD (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • TORC (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)
  • COIN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • FIGURINE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • INGOT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • METAL WORKING DEBRIS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • VESSEL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument
  • Higher Level Stewardship
  • SHINE

Sources and further reading

---Article in Serial: Clarke, R. R. 1957. Archaeological Discoveries in Norfolk 1949-54. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXXI pp 395-416.
---Photograph: Wicks, D. (NAU). 1989. EWU 5-10.
---Photograph: Wicks, D. (NAU). 1991. FHH 5-16; FHX 16-19.
---Article in Serial: The Snettisham Treasure: Excavations in 1990.. Antiquity. Vol 65, No 248. pp 447-464.
---Publication: Current Archaeology. 1991. The Snettisham Treasure. No 126. pp 260-262.
---Publication: Clarke, D. L. 1970. Beaker Pottery of Great Britain and Ireland. Vol 2. No 602.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TF 63 SE 7; TF 63 SE 15 [6]; TF 63 SE 16.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Newspaper Article: Lynn News. 1989. Metal detector finds are treasure trove. 19 December.
---Publication: Materials Characterisation. 1990. The Sheffield Torc. 28, pp109-123.
---Serial: Fundberichte aus Baden. 1987. Goldringe mit eisenkern der jungeren latenezeit.. 12.
---Article in Serial: 1948. The Snettisham Find.. The Numismatic Chronicle. Sixth Series, Vilc VIII, pp 233-236.
---Article in Serial: 1991. The Snettisham Treasure: Excavations in 1990.. Antiquity. Volume 65, Number 248, pp447-465, September 1991.
---Publication: Myer, R.. 1930. Chats on Old English Tobacco Jars.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2009. Coming face to face with our rich heritage. 3 October.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. The object is to celebrate our rich history. 13 February.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2009. EDP2 Feature. 21 December.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2012. Ancient gold has power to dazzle in our Olympic year. 30 June.
---Article in Serial: I. M. Stead. 1991. The Snettisham Treasure: Excavations in 1990. CBA Group VI Bulletin. No 35 pp 53-56.
---Article in Serial: Stead, I. 1995. The Snettisham Treasure. CBA Group VI Bulletin. No 37 pp 52-54.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Neolithic. Snettisham [3].
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Bronze Age. Snettisham.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Iron Age. Snettisham [6].
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Roman. Snettisham [2].
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Late Saxon. Snettisham.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Snettisham.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Article in Serial: Sealey, P. R. 1979. The Later History of Icenian Electrum Torcs. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. Vol 45 pp 165-178.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Middle Saxon. Snettisham.
---Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawing of the details of Celtic God from the Gundestrup Cauldron, Denmark. Card. Scale unknown.
---Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawing of the details of Celtic God from the Gundestrup Cauldron, Denmark. Film. Scale unknown.
---Illustration: [Unknown]. Unknown. Drawing of decoration on an Iron Age gold torc terminal from Ipswich. Card. Unknown.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Evening News. 1948-1949. [Articles on the hoards found in 1948].
---Newspaper Article: The Illustrated London News. 1949-1951. [Articles on the hoards found in 1948].
---Newspaper Article: The Times. 1948-1950. [Articles on the hoards found in 1948].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1948-1952. [Articles on the hoards found and archaeological work undertaken between 1948-1950].
---Newspaper Article: The Sunday Dispatch. 1948. Inquest is held on treasure. 19 December.
---Newspaper Article: Norwich Mercury. 1948. Iron Age finds. 10 December.
---Newspaper Article: The Daily Telegraph. 1948. Norfolk treasure trove. 2 December.
---Newspaper Article: Norfolk News. 1948. Treasures of the Iron Age. 24 December.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1964. [Articles on the torc found in 1964].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1968. Snettisham field gives up third torc. 1 March.
---Newspaper Article: Lynn News. 1991. The first gold-digger. 22 February.
---Newspaper Article: Lynn News. 1991-1992. [Articles on the hoard found and archaeological work in 1990s].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1991-1992. [Articles on the hoard found and archaeological work in 1990s].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1991. [Articles on the torcs found in Snettisham]. 13 November.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1991. A ploughman in Norfolk's field of gold. 19 April.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1991. [Articles on the torcs found in Snettisham]. 8 March.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1991. [Articles on the display at the Castle Museum].
---Newspaper Article: 1991. 'Gold diggers' warned to stay away. 9 March.
---Newspaper Article: The War Cry. 1991. Finders keepers. 18 November.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1998. The golden anniversary. 27 January.
---Newspaper Article: Lynn News. 1999. Home of spectacular treasure. 25 May.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2005. Rare torc will go on display. 9 June.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2015. How poison met beauty in the world of torcs. 19 September.
<S1>Publication: Haffner, A. (ed). 1995. Die Schatzfunde von Snettisham.
<S2>Unpublished Document: Hill, J.D. (British Museum). 2004. Report on ingots / casting fragments 2004 T91.
<S3>Unpublished Document: Birks, C.. 2006. Chris Birks Archaeological Services Report No. CB047. Project Design for a Programme of Archaeological Works at Ken Hill, Snettisham, Norfolk..
<S4>Article in Serial: Clarke, R. R. 1955. The Early Iron Age Treasure from Snettisham, Norfolk. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. Vol XX (for 1954) Pt 1 pp 27-86.
<S5>Monograph: Wymer, J. J. and Bonsall, C. J. (eds). 1977. Gazetteer of Mesolithic Sites in England and Wales with a Gazetteer of Upper Palaeolithic Sites in England and Wales. Council for British Archaeology Research Report. No. 20. p 212.
<S6>Archive: R. Jacobi. -. Jacobi Archive. 10283.
<S7>Thesis: Healy, F. 1978. The Neolithic in Norfolk. p 613.
<S8>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Sketch of an Iron Age gold alloy torc (Hoard A). Paper. 1:1.
<S9>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Sketch of an Iron Age gold alloy torc (Hoard A). Paper. 1:1.
<S10>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawing of the extended decoration on an Iron Age gold alloy torc (Hoard A). Paper. 2:1.
<S11>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Reconstuction drawing of an Iron Age gold alloy torc showing iron core and fitting (Hoard A). Card. 1:1.
<S12>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawing of a utilised gritstone pebble (Hoard A). Paper. 1:1.
<S13>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawing of Iron Age copper alloy 'ingot-bracelets' (Hoards B/C Nos 1, 3-4 and 6). Paper. 1:1.
<S14>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawings on an Iron Age iron nail (Hoard C No 1). Card. 1:1.
<S15>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawing of an Iron Age British speculum coin (Hoard C). Card. 2:1.
<S16>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawing of three Iron Age speculum coins (Hoard C). Card. 2:1.
<S17>Illustration: [Unknown]. Unknown. Drawing of two Iron Age copper alloy rivet heads (Hoard C No 9) and binding of U-shaped copper alloy (Hoard B/C No 23). Card. 1:1.
<S18>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawing of an Iron Age copper alloy clamp (Hoard B No 8) and a cast copper alloy object (Hoard B/C No 25). Card. 1:1.
<S19>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawing of an Iron Age tin stick and tin lump (Hoard B/C Nos 18 and 19). Card. 1:1.
<S20>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Reconstruction drawing of an Iron Age copper alloy disc with eyelets of sheet copper alloy (Hoard B/C No 22). Card. 1:1.
<S21>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Extended drawing of design on Iron Age gold alloy bracelet (Hoard E). Paper. 2:1.
<S22>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Extended drawing of design on Iron Age gold alloy bracelet (Hoard E). Paper. 2:1.
<S23>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawing of an Iron Age gold alloy torc (Hoard E). Card. 2:1.
<S24>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Drawing of decoration on an Iron Age torc terminal found in Clevedon. Film. Scale unknown.
<S25>Illustration: Moss, J. 1964. Drawing of an Iron Age gold alloy torc terminal. Card. 1:1.
<S26>Illustration: [Unknown]. [Unknown]. Reconstruction drawing of an Iron Age copper alloy disc with eyelets of sheet copper alloy (Hoard B/C No 22). Card. 1:1.
<S27>Illustration: Potter, R. 1949. Drawing of a prehistoric mica schist saddle quern. Card. 1:2.
<S28>Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Mesolithic.

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