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2,500-Year-Old Gold Necklaces Revealed After Landslide in Spain

A gold torque necklace similar to the 2,500-year-old gold necklaces found in Spain
A gold torque necklace similar to the 2,500-year-old gold necklaces found in Spain. Credit: Lmbuga / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Two ‘richly decorated’ gold necklaces, probably hidden away around 2,500 years ago, were recently unearthed in northern Spain after a landslide.

The first necklace, shaped like a “C,” was found by Sergio Narciandi. He works for a company that looks for sources of water in the Peñamellera Baja area of Asturias, a mountainous region.

Pablo Arias, a professor of ancient archaeology at the University of Cantabria in Spain and part of the excavation team, shared this with Live Science.

A minor landslide, triggered by recent fires in the region, moved the earth near the spring on August 29th, revealing the gold to Narciandi. News of Narciandi’s discovery reached Arias, who then gathered a team of archaeologists and staff from the local Archaeological Museum of Asturias to investigate.

Soon after, they uncovered another valuable find—a section of a second necklace. Metal detector enthusiasts swiftly assisted in finding the rest of the missing pieces, reported Live Science.

Gold necklaces dating back to 500 B.C. during Iberia’s Iron Age

Upon an initial examination of their style and craftsmanship, experts estimated that these necklaces originated from around 500 B.C. This places them within the Iron Age of Iberia, which encompasses the present-day regions of Spain and Portugal, as reported by the Spanish news source El País.

These age-old jewelry items, displaying visible signs of usage, were probably adorned by individuals belonging to the upper class of society.

These thick neck ornaments are commonly referred to as “torques” or “torcs,” derived from the Latin word “torqueo,” meaning “to twist.” This name reflects not only their often coiled shapes but also the method used to create many of these necklace types.

Similar gold torques discovered on the Iberian Peninsula weigh more than 2.2 pounds (one kilogram), with the heaviest one found in northwestern Iberia weighing nearly four pounds (1.812 kilograms).

Although the weight of the newly discovered Asturias necklaces has not been reported yet, the craftsmanship seen in the Asturias findings and other examples from Iberia is quite similar, according to Live Science.

Newly discovered gold necklaces crafted by Celtic people

The recently discovered necklaces might have been created by Celtic communities. It’s believed that their skilled goldsmiths fashioned these necklaces using a central rod with wound gold spirals.

It is likely that both of these necklaces were stashed away as part of a hoard, which means intentionally hiding valuable objects. This practice was quite common in Atlantic Europe during the Bronze and Iron Ages, Arias stated.

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