A Bronze Age gold torc dating from around 1300-1100 BC, discovered in a freshly ploughed field in Grunty Fen is one of the largest and most spectacular ever found say experts.

The gold torc, which is 4’ 10” long and made from 732 grams of almost pure gold, was found by a metal detectorist last September and was listed in the British Museum’s annual Treasure and Portable Antiquities Scheme report which lists all finds made by the public in the preceding year.

It is hoped Ely City Museum will acquire the torc, which is much larger than those usually found.

Torcs were normally worn around the neck, but this one is too large to fit a person’s waist and may have been designed to be worn over thick winter clothing, as a sash, by a heavily pregnancy woman as protection or by a prized animal in the course of a sacrifice.

The British Museums report lists 82,272 discoveries were made mostly by people who were metal-detecting. More than a thousand discoveries of “treasure” - such as gold or silver ornaments or coin collections and prehistoric metalwork - were made in England, Wales and Northern Ireland last year, the report reveals.

The 1,008 finds also included a Roman grave in Hertfordshire and a hoard of Viking Age objects and Anglo-Saxon coins in a field near Watlington, Oxfordshire.

Archaeological items, the majority of which were found on cultivated land where items can be at risk of damage from ploughing and corrosion, ranged from thousands of stone flints to a rare Bronze Age shield in Suffolk.

An Anglo-Saxon hanging bowl mount was discovered in West Sussex and dates from 600 to 725 AD. It is decorated with swirling motifs set against bright red enamel and glass inlay and the hook at the top is moulded into an animal’s head.