See two reports at:
- Maev Kennedy at the The Guardian in
Spectacular bronze age gold torc unearthed in Cambridgeshire field
- Daily Mail Online at
Revealed: 3,000-year-old gold belt worn by a pregnant woman during a fertility ritual is among the stunning treasures found in the UK last year
We reluctantly note as too often typical for mainstream Archaeology that the reports appear to focus predominantly on the 732 grams of almost pure gold that was made to use the torc ...
rather than on analytically important torc ESSENTIALS such as the LENGTH of the torc -- a measurement length nowhere to be found in sources thus far published, as far as we can tell.
Accordingly, we had to estimate its length ourselves by using the photographed gloved hands holding the gold torc as a guide, presuming a woman's hand/glove-length of about 6 modern inches and apparently about 7 such hand lengths in the round of the torc for a potential total of somewhere around 42 modern inches as the length of the twisted part of the torc.
The Guardian quotes Neil Wilkin, Bronze Age Europe Curator at the British Museum, as saying that "If you take callipers, and measure the gaps between the twists, they are absolutely spot on accurate."
WELL, then, why not then take those callipers folks, and count just how many such "spot on accurate" twists there are and what their total length might be. The gold torc in its bent shape may reflect its being carried at the "middle girth" of it's wearer, whoever he or she was. That kind of "spot on accuracy" in its twists would seem unusual for something intended only as a fertility belt
The Daily Mail writes that:
"The torc is thought to have been worn as a belt over clothing, as part of animal sacrifice or even by pregnant women in fertility ceremonies."
The fertility explanation caught our eye because we subsequently did go to the trouble to count the number of "twists" in the photographs available at the above sources -- a count nowhere found in any of the sources.
By our count there appear to be 270 twists.... Why such accurate twists?
That number of 270 could indeed have been intended as the simplified "round number" matching the human pregnancy period as calculated from ovulation to birth, which in modern times has been found to average ca. 268 days, i.e. the 270 days could have marked the human birth period (modernly often set at 280 days as measured, however, from the first day of the woman's last menstrual period, which does not necessarily coincide with the point of impregnation.)
The 270 twists -- assuming a six-inch gloved hand as noted above -- could perhaps make for a Cambridgeshire Gold Torc length of about 45 modern inches or about 55 megalithic inches.
The standard "ell" in England was 45 inches.
If the delayed mainstream measurements of the actual torc length actually mesh in any way with our cogitations -- regardless of any other calculational or "fertility" uses the gold torc may have had -- it seems a bit short for a "jump rope" -- then this torc may have been so created in gold to represent a "standard" ell in Ancient Britain, or, should the length of the gold torc be even longer than we have estimated, perhaps even something like the "King's ellwand" or an ancient British ell-version of a longer "royal cubit".
The standard "ell" in England was 45 inches.
Under ELL in the Wikipedia we can read that:
"In England, the ell was usually 45 in (1.143 m), or a yard and a quarter. It was mainly used in the tailoring business but is now obsolete. Although the exact length was never defined in English law, standards were kept; the brass ell examined at the Exchequer by Graham in the 1740s had been in use "since the time of Queen Elizabeth".
The Viking ell was the measure from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger, about 18 inches. The Viking ell or primitive ell was used in Iceland up to the 13th century. By the 13th century, a law set the "stika" as equal to 2 ells which was the English ell of the time. An ell-wand or ellwand was a rod of length one ell used for official measurement. Edward I of England required that every town have one. In Scotland, the Belt of Orion was called "the King's Ellwand"."
It is therefore also possible that standard land survey measurement ells viz. "ellwands" in Ancient Britain, Scotland and Ireland had their astronomical comparables in terms of sky measurement "sticks" or "torcs".
We had hoped, for example, to find comprehensive mainstream archaeological measurements online of the width and height of the Avebury stones in order to see whether their dimensions correspond to some standard length of measure for measuring the distances between stars, but we have found nothing.
Looks like we will have to take another trip to the UK and see what we can do.