BUFFER TORC

KNOCK, COUNTY ROSCOMMON
LA TÈNE, 3RD CENTURY BC
GOLD
14.7 CM
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF IRELAND, DUBLIN

This torc is composed of two semi-circular tubes of gold that are connected in the back by a small box-like element, that allows the two halves to pivot, and in the front by opposing buffers. The buffers are soldered together and are flanked on each side by cones. At the tips of the cones are ridges decorated with spirals and protruding knobs. The craftsman used the repoussé technique to create the design on the terminals, that is influenced by the Waldalgesheim style. Embossed meandering wire decorate the tubing that outlines the box on the other end of the torc.

In 1992, archaeologist A. Ireland attempted to settle the controversy of this torcís find spot. Originally scholars thought that this torc, along with a gold ribbon torc, was found at Clonmacnoise. After investigating new evidence, Ireland found that the torcs were actually found in the Ardnaglug bog in Knock, Co. Roscommon. Knock is only seven miles away from Clonmacnoise, and the bog actually spans both areas. Ireland suggests that person who found the torcs reported the find spot as Clonmacnoise in order to have sole possession over other objects that may have also been hidden at Knock. Because the objects were found in a bog, it seems that they were deposited as votive offerings.

This buffer torc is similar to continental La Tène objects, and scholar B. Raftery believes that this torc indicates the earliest La Tène presence in Ireland. Archaeologist Wilde, who wrote in the mid-nineteenth century, claimed that the torcs are reminiscent of Scandinavian art; Raftery suggests that the torc was made in the Middle Rhine area and exported to Ireland. Other scholars have suggested that the torc is of modern origin. The gold ribbon torc, with which this torc was found, is believed to be of native origin.

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