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Nature volume 130, pages 369371 (03 September 1932) | Download Citation



The Towednack Gold Hoard.—The affinities and dating of the hoard of gold objects found at Towednack, Cornwall, in December 1931 and May 1932 (see NATURE for Jan. 16, 1932, p. 90) are discussed in Man for August by Mr. Christopher Hawkes. Nine pieces were found, of which four are finished ornaments, two torcs, and a pair of bracelets. Two bracelets are unfinished and the remaining three pieces are bent rods or bars, evidently a goldsmith's raw material. No. 1 is a large torc, 45 inches in length, with enlarged terminals, circular in section, tapering inwards. The main portion is triangular in section and twisted from right to left. The whole is coiled double, and the terminals twisted for interlocking. No. 2 is a triple torc of a pattern hitherto unknown in prehistoric gold work, the body of the torc being formed of three strands of gold wire, each of triangular section and twisted like No. 1. The strands are welded together at the ends to form the terminals, which are bent back to interlock. It measures 4-4½ inches across. Nos. 3 and 4 are a pair of bracelets, quite plain, formed of rods circular in section, bent in an oval penannular form. They are excellently finished, smoothed, and polished. Nos. 5 and 6 are obviously unfinished, awaiting smoothing and polishing, but clearly intended to be quite plain like the previous pair. Of the rods, one is lozenge-shaped in section, the others irregular. There is no reason to think the gold is not of Wicklow origin. The two torcs obviously provide the firmest basis for chronology, and although the second is without parallel, its complexity of structure and fineness of workmanship point to an advanced stage in the development of torc manufacture. The simpler workmanship of No. 1 invites an abundance of comparative material, and an examination in detail of torc types suggests that it is a developed type, but earlier than the fully established Late Bronze Age types, for example, the Morvah hoard, and preceding the full establishment of the Late Bronze Age culture in Cornwall and Ireland. It belongs, then, to the period 1000–750 B.C., a period of transition, perhaps marking a renewal in the Irish-Cornish gold and tin trade.

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