Cruciform bead from a beaded torc

Photo: The Portable Antiquities Scheme CC By SA2.0
Object type: Torc
Period: Iron Age
Primary material: Copper alloy
Date found: 12/05/2022
Location: Wiltshire


A coppery alloy cruciform bead from a beaded torc that dates to about 50BC – AD 150. The square aperture would have allowed several of these beads to be threaded onto an iron rod to form a torc that would have been worn around the neck. It is a Find of Note of Regional Importance.

Perdiswell Torc

The Perdiswell torc was found in 1840, two feet down in a gravel pit in Perdiswell, Wiltshire. It illustrates how these beads were used.

Perdiswell torc. Photo: Rept0n1x, CC BY-SA 3.0

It’s made of 22 beads and 24 spacers that are threaded onto an iron bar. Only the beaded section remains; the other part of the torc would have been a solid bar.

Jabez Allies recorded the discovery in his “Folklore and Antiquities of Worcestershire” in 1840: “A remarkable bronze fragment of a torc, or ornament for the neck … It is rather more than the third of the circle, and was probably broken in battle. An iron rod runs through its centre connecting the bronze pieces or vertebrae