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Bronze Age Corrad torc

The Corrard torc, found near Belle Isle, County Fermanagh.
A torc is an item of prehistoric gold jewellery that was fashionable in Ireland, Britain and France during the Bronze Age. This particular example is one of the most spectacular of its type ever found in Ireland.
 
What makes the Corrard torc particularly unusual is its coiled spring-like appearance. Most other surviving torcs are circular in shape and the cone like terminals at either end probably acted like interlocking clasps to allow it to be closed and open, rather like a belt or necklace.
 
In its present coiled shape it is difficult to appreciate the length of the square gold bar from which it was fashioned. If straightened this would measure c.121cm (47½ inches) – enough to go around the largest waist! As no torc has been discovered with skeletal remains it is not certain how they were intended to be worn.
 
The deliberated coiling prior to burial may have made the act of concealment easier. Perhaps it was even a kind of decommissioning, sending out The Corrard torc, found near Belle Isle, County Fermanagh.a signal that it was not intended to be used again. Under these circumstances it could almost be seen as a type of grave good and a burial without a body or even an offering to the gods.
 
The weight of the Corrard torc (720gms) is also spectacular with a measured gold content of c.86%, equivalent to approximately 20 carat gold. This is at the very upper limited used for jewellery as a higher gold content makes to metal too soft and easily scratched.

When you see this at the Museum, you should be able to distinguish the two plain terminals in their bent-back position and the regularly twisted cork-screw pattern of the worked bar running between them. The word ‘torc’ (from the Latin to twist) refers to this spiral pattern and not to the fact that the object was later coiled like a spring.





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