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Celtic gold torcs - An interdisciplinary and diachronic perspective

Abstract : This contribution deals with Iron Age gold torcs from the Western La Tène culture (mid 5th to 1st cent. BC). Torcs are generally associated with the Celtic warrior, as well as with the religious, symbolic and economic spheres. Representations of torcs are known from anthropomorphic statuary carved in stone and wood, or worked in bronze and silver, and they are mentioned in Greek and Roman textual sources. These annular ornaments are mainly discovered in hoards, sanctuaries or funeral contexts and particularly well represented in the archaeological record. The purpose is to present the diversity of find contexts and the large range of sources available that extend our understanding of how gold torcs were worn and allow a glimpse on their social, economic, ritual and symbolic value. At the beginning of the third century BC coinage arises. Accordingly, the specific relation between gold torcs and coins is also raised. The diachronic view of the study covers torcs from the sixth to the first centuries BC. The interdisciplinary approach to these emblematic objects includes various methods from archaeological science (SEM, XRF, LA-ICP-MS), typo-chronology, tool-mark analyses, manufacturing techniques, experimental archaeology and iconography. The paper scrutinizes the evolution of torcs in style, material composition and technology, as well in the depositional practice in time and space during the Iron Age. The case studies presented concern gold torcs from continental Europe, in particular from Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland.
Keywords : Gold
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Conference papers
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Contributor : Barbara Armbruster Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Wednesday, August 17, 2022 - 4:18:49 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, August 23, 2022 - 8:38:14 AM


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  • HAL Id : hal-03094175, version 1


Barbara Armbruster, Marilou Nordez, Maryse Blet-Lemarquand, Sebastian Fürst, Nicole Lockhoff, et al.. Celtic gold torcs - An interdisciplinary and diachronic perspective. 5th International Conference "Archaeometallurgy in Europe", Jun 2019, Miskolc, Hungary. pp.417-432. ⟨hal-03094175⟩



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