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Leekfrith Torcs go on permanent display at museum.

Pieces of ancient jewellery discovered in a North Staffordshire field by two metal detector enthusiasts have gone on permanent display at Stoke-on-Trent's Potteries Museum and Art Gallery following a successful £325,000 fund-raising campaign to buy them.

Pals, Mark Hambleton and Joe Kania hit the headlines in December 2016 when they returned to a field near the Staffordshire Moorlands village of Rudyard some 20 years after failing to detect anything there and discovered the artefacts which are thought to be among the earliest examples of Iron Age gold ever found in Britain. The jewellery was declared treasure at an inquest in 2017, prompting the launch of a fundraising campaign by Stoke-on-Trent City Council in partnership with the museum's Friends group to buy the objects for the Potteries Museum and pay for expert restoration work.

More than 21,000 people viewed the Leekfrith Iron Age Torcs when they went on temporary display at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in February 2017 with members of the public donating thousands of pounds to the fundraising campaign. A grant of £80,000 from The Art Fund gave efforts a boost then, as the deadline to raise the funds to buy the precious ancient jewellery approached, a grant of up to £165,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund ensured that not only could the torcs be purchased but also ongoing research could be carried out.

Link to article in The Sentinel newspaper 28/05/18.

Archaeologists praise 'eagle-eyed' contractor

Peak District National Park archaeologists have praised a contractor working on a major footpath restoration scheme in North Staffordshire after he discovered a previously unknown Bronze Age burial site.

Kieran Fogarty was digging a trench to reinforce a popular public footpath at The Roaches near Leek when he unearthed part of a decorated Bronze Age cremation urn. Mr Fogarty quickly alerted staff at the Peak Park authority to his find and a team from the cultural heritage division visited the site and identified his discovery.

A team led by archaeologist John Barnatt carried out a rescue excavation of the site and as well as recovering three large fragments of the urn were also able to identify and record the extent of the cremation pit, fully recover a 'significant amount' of cremated bone and charcoal from the site and even record the impression left by the side of the urn in the edge of the pit.

Ken Smith, cultural heritage manager for the authority said: "Kieran did exactly the right thing - by contacting us quickly we were able to get out to the site and identify what he had uncovered." Mr Smith added, "Often finds like this are associated with burial mounds but in this case there was no clue on the ground surface that there was archaeology present."

Funding is to be sought for post-excavation work to be carried out that may identify where the clay used to make the urn came from, C14 dating of the charcoal and study of the cremated bone. Once the urn has been analysed it will be deposited with The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.

Link to story on website of Leek Post and Times newspaper:-

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