GOLD jewellery thought to be 2,000-years-old could leave North Yorkshire, if essential funds can not be raised.

The gold torcs, or bracelets, are currently on show at the Yorkshire Museum, and are the first items of Iron Age gold jewellery ever found in the north of England.

Both pieces were discovered in Towton, near Tadcaster, by metal detectorists in 2010 and 2011, and are believed to have belonged to an extremely wealthy member of the Brigantes tribe, which ruled most of North Yorkshire at the time.

The first torc was bought by the museum in January 2012 for £25,000 raised through a public appeal, and the second torc has just been valued at £30,000. About half the funds have already been donated through a local charity, but the museum has until the end of October to raise the rest and keep the items together in North Yorkshire.

Natalie McCaul, curator of archaeology at the museum, said: “We hope we can find the money to ensure this beautiful object stays in Yorkshire for the public to enjoy, but also so we can conduct research into the pair of bracelets to try and find out more about Yorkshire during this period.

“Torcs like these have never been found in the north of England – so they are, quite simply, incredible finds, and represent some of the earliest gold objects ever found in this region. They are helping us to re-write the history of pre-Roman Yorkshire, as we can now say for the first time with any certainty that there were people of significant wealth living here in the Iron Age.”

Both torcs will be on show at the Yorkshire Museum until October 13. To donate to the fund, and keep the torcs in the county, visit the Yorkshire Museum or phone (01904) 687671.