Ulster Museum

Bronze Age gold jewellery – the Corrard torc

Ulster Museum. Early Peoples Gallery

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After lying in a Fermanagh field for over 3000 years this piece of Bronze Age gold jewellery was discovered in 2009 and looks as good as new. It is the only coiled torc of this type from Ireland.

Most torcs are circular in shape. The Corrard torc once looked like this. These circular torcs could be worn around the neck or waist.

The word torc is from the Latin ‘to twist’. This does not refer to the coiled spring-like shape but to the main ribbon-like body of the torc. Some people think this looks like fusilli pasta.

At some time in the past the shape of the Corrard torc was changed. It now looks like a spring. This change of shape means that it no longer fits around your neck, waist, or arm.

Perhaps the shape was changed to make it easier to bury in the ground or hide. This may have happened when its owner had died.

Gold is an expensive and valuable metal. Whoever owned the torc must have been important and very wealthy. The Corrard torc weighs 720 grams. Most wedding rings are less than 10 grams in weight.

Look at the torc - see how it now looks like a spring. Try to imagine it as a circular shape, like a hoop. How would you wear it?