Local council buys status symbol from the Iron Age

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The Independent Online

A 2,000-year-old gold Celtic choker discovered by a metal detecting enthusiast in a field has been bought by the district where it had long lain buried.

Newark and Sherwood District Council has bought the rare piece, known as a torc, thanks to a grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

The fund gave £285,000 towards a total price of £350,000 for one of the finest examples of Celtic jewellery ever recovered. The torc was a symbol of power and status, and this one probably arrived in Newark in the Iron Age as a diplomatic gift.

It was probably buried in a religious ceremony near Newark, Nottinghamshire, where it was dug up last year by Maurice Richardson, a tree surgeon and metal detecting enthusiast who had scoured the fields near his home for decades before this find.

It was declared treasure under the Treasure Act of 1996, and museum staff provided the valuation for the sale. The money will be split between Mr Richardson and the field's owner.

Dr Jeremy Hill, from the British Museum, said: "It's a daunting prospect for the British Museum or the V&A to raise £350,000. So the fact that the Newark and Sherwood Museum Service has acquired this is pretty amazing.