Leekfrith Iron Age torcs find in danger of being lost to private bidders

NORTH Staffordshire people are being urged to support an appeal to get ancient treasure, found in farmer’s field in the Staffordshire Moorlands, returned to the district for safe-keeping.

Metal detector enthusiasts Mark Hambleton and Joe Kania, from Leek, discovered the rare gold jewellery, said to date back to the Iron Age, while pursuing their hobby on farmland on the outskirts of their home town last December.

The four torcs, comprising of three necklaces and a bracelet, are believed to be from 400BC and have been valued at £325,000 by a panel of independent experts.

The treasure is currently on display at the British Museum, in London, after initially being put on public display at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Hanley.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Friends of the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery have until December 5 to meet the valuation price of the treasure so it can be returned the to the district. Otherwise the artefacts coud be separated and purchased by private bidders.

The proceeds will be split between the finders, Mark and Joe, and the farmer on whose land it was unearthed.

Ian Lawley, chairman of the Friends of the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, said: “We want to see this equisite treasure back on public display, so it can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

People can donate at the museum or online at stokemuseums.org.uk/leekfrithtorcs.