Skip to comments.Recent discovery of a Roman Coin Hoard in the Shrewsbury Area[UK][10K Coins]
Posted on 09/10/2009 8:45:56 AM PDT by BGHater
A very large and important find of a hoard of Roman coins was recently discovered by a novice metal detector user in the Shrewsbury area. This is probably one of the largest coin hoards ever discovered in Shropshire. The finder, Mr Nic. Davies, bought his first metal detector a month ago and this is his first find made with it. The hoard was discovered close to a public bridleway on land that Mr Davies did not have permission to detect on. All land is owned by someone and it is important that permission to search is obtained in advance. The coins were placed in a very large storage jar which had been buried in the ground around 1700 years ago. They had lain undisturbed since then waiting for someone to find them again.
Mr Davies, excavated the hoard and brought all his finds to Peter Reavill, Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme based with Shropshire Council Museum Service. Hoards such as this are covered by the Treasure Act, being more than 10 coins of less than 10% precious metal which have been deliberately hidden. By law all finds which represent Treasure must be reported to HM Coroner. The hoard of coins will be taken to the British Museum for detailed conservation and full identification, a report will be sent to the Coroner and it is hoped that the museum service will acquire them to be displayed in the New Museum planned for the Music Hall, in Shrewsbury.
From a brief look at the hoard there seems to be a minimum of 10,000 coins; the majority of which are corroded together in the pot. The finder did not touch the coins from within the pot and this will mean that staff at the British Museum will be able to excavate the coins carefully. This will enable them to know whether the coins were placed in the pot all at the same time, or were added to piecemeal over time. The coins are all bronze (copper alloy), and some of them have been silver washed. They are known as nummi (which just means coin) and were common during the 4th century AD. From the coins which have been provisionally identified they seem to date from the period 320 340 AD, late in the reign of Constantine I and the House of Constantine. Amongst the coins are issues celebrating the anniversary of the founding of Rome and Constantinople. In total the coins and the pot weigh in excess of 70 lbs. The pottery vessel is very large and probably used in the domestic part of a farmhouse as a large storage jar. It does not seem to be locally made. It is very fine being extraordinarily thin.
The finder marked the findspot and subsequently took Peter Reavill and archaeologists from Shropshire Council to the findspot. A small excavation was undertaken with the hope of understanding how the coins were placed in the ground. This was a success and it seems most likely that the pot was buried in the ground probably part full and was subsequently topped up before a large stone was placed on top acting as a marker. The top of the pot had been broken in the ground and a large number of the coins spread in the area. All of these were recovered during the excavation with the help of a metal detector. This added at least another 300 coins to the total. We now know that there are no more coins (or another hoard) in the area. The coins within the hoard represent some of the most commonly found coins from Roman Britain; most metal detectorists will have one or two in their collection. The importance of this find is the sheer number, or material wealth they represent. It is likely that the hoard represents a person or communities wealth, possibly as a payment for a harvest. Why it was not collected by the owner is a mystery but one that we can share and enjoy 1700 years after the fact.
This is a very exciting find and probably the largest coin hoard, at least in modern times, to be recovered from the County. says Emma-Kate Lanyon, Curator for Shropshire Council Museum Service.
The Treasure Act and Portable Antiquities Scheme is now nearly 12 years old and has vastly increased our understanding of Shropshires past by bringing finds like this to the attention of archaeologists. It has also provided the museums with the opportunity to acquire these artefacts for future research and display. The Museum Service will acquire the hoard with the intention to display it in the new Shrewsbury Museum planned for the Music Hall site in Shrewsbury.
The coins will be taken to London for detailed study, a report will then be sent to the Coroner and the find will be valued by a Government panel. Thanks are extended to the Coroners Service, Shropshire Council, English Heritage and the British Museum all of who have contributed to this exciting find. For more information on the Treasure Act and the work of the Portable Antiquities Scheme either visit the website www.finds.org.uk, contact Peter Reavill on 01584 813641 or visit one of his regular finds days. If anyone has found Roman coins, or other finds I would be happy to see them I have a finds day at the Guildhall, Newport (Shropshire) on Saturday 12th September between 11-2pm organised by Newport History Society.
‘In total the coins and the pot weigh in excess of 70 lbs. ‘
70 lbs of copper alloy coins? Sounds like some Roman/Anglo-Saxon shop-keeper’s spare penny jar.
Probably not worth much at the time - remember the Romans inflated their currency also!
Thank you for finding this treasure.
For your services rendered to the British Crown we award you the following:
Five pounds and ten shillings.
Please use this money in good health.
Your Majesty the Queen
Why is that insane? Iam missing the joke but I am rather dense about jokes.
This is interesting because I have read that after the romans left around 400 AD there was a serious shortage of small coins, the kind you need for everyday exchanges.
So for instance you couldn’t get chage from a gold coin if you wanted to buy a cow.
So people went back to barter. Small coinage is important.
And the guy has such a happy look on his face!
No, I’m sorry.
I was just stunned. It was the guys first time with a MD and he finds this hoard.
It’s really amazing.
How long is someone a novice metal detector user before they take final vows?
heh. Everyone is different. To each his own.
Does it sounds like the property owner has no rights and no compensation?
The Imperial Reserve Board says they're just as good as 100% silver denarii.
Wish there were some pictures of the Coins. Numismatics would love to see these.
Flavius Julius Constans (320-350) was a Roman Emperor who ruled from 337 until his death. Constans was the third and youngest son of Constantine the Great and Fausta, Constantine's second wife.
On 25 December 333 Constantine elevated Constans to Caesar.
In 337 he succeeded his father, jointly with his older brothers Constantine II and Constantius II, receiving Italy, Pannonia and Africa as his portion. Constantine II, who ruled over Gaul, Spain and Britain, attempted to take advantage of his youth and inexperience by invading Italy in 340, but Constans defeated Constantine at Aquileia, where the older brother died.
The invasion was the effect of brotherly tensions between the two emperors. Constantine II was, at first, Constans's guardian. As Constans grew older, Constantine II never relinquished that position.
In 341-2, Constans led a successful campaign against the Franks and in the early months of 343 visited Britain. The source for this visit, Julius Firmicus Maternus, does not give a reason for this but the quick movement and the danger involved in crossing the channel in the dangerous winter months, suggests it was in response to a military emergency of some kind, possibly to repel the Picts and Scots.
That’s the rules over there.
The article isn't very well written, but under the Treasure Act of 1996, it all belongs to the landowner. Usually the metal detectorist asks permission and they make a deal like a 50/50 split. This guy, however, didn't make any such deal it seems, so the landowner gets it all. Then an independent board of experts sets a fair market value. Museums get first refusal at that price. If no museum is willing to pay, the owner can sell them on the open market.
Wonder what I could get for those in a Coinstar machine?
Now the guy can fill his cache card and retire his wallet!
That's exactly the way the late Roman empire was inflating their currency.
They debased their gold coins by adding copper and their silver coins magically turned to copper.
Even so, it was hard to create enough inflation to pay their debts. Coining money is hard work and takes time.
We're much more efficient at creating inflation today. We don't even have to print money anymore. All we have to do is create an electronic entry.
If that was me I’da kept my mouth shut and opened an ebay account.......several of them.
70 pounds? Would be more appropriate to say 'five stone'. ;') Thanks BGHater.
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I must show this to my husband!
I got into buying some of those from ebay a few years back.
Out of the 25 or so I got, only two or three turned out nicely. One was a very fine specimen of a Denarius issued under Constantine the Great that has on the backside a picture of Romulus and Remus suckling on a wolf. It was part of the basically millenium collection of the City of Rome (which was already about 800 years old at Christs birth!)
LOL! What? They printed more bronze?
LOL! What? They printed more bronze?
What was once pure silver/gold become alloys, coins were clipped or made smaller, common copper replaced precious metals for the same stated face values. In fact, the Romans engaged in serious “money printing” and highly inflationary policies such as price controls, or controls on labor (forcing labor to stay on the farms) which led to the system of serfdom in the middle-ages.
There is nothing new under the Sun. Mankind keeps making the same mistakes over and over again.
Of course, in contrast to the neo-fascist, reactionary, power-crazed British monarchy, the Federal and State Governments of the USA are always completely fair, non-manipulative, and thoroughly caring of the citizens who, after all, are the ones they work for.
Do I even need a /sarc tag? Governments do as Governments do.
The law in Britain on finding hoards is designed purely so that Museums and other academic institutions get first pick on them. And that’s fine as far as I’m concerned. I don’t want the historical heritage of Britain to be completely dispersed to all and sundry purely on the basis of vulgar commercialism. A fair and equitable price will be set by the commission on antiquities, and incidentally, it really IS a fair and equitable price - at least I’ve never heard of any finder complaining about what they got.
Perhaps the original owner was saving up for a cow!
It might sound that way, but it is not the case. The compensation is quite honestly very fair.
In fact, I would guess that, apart from their historical and academic interest, these things are probably not all that valuable. There might be a lot of coins but they are base metal and not in particularly good condition either.
and very good rules they are too.
So, they coined more "gold." Nothing new indeed.
Yes, after I posted, I realized that we have done the same with our coins. Pennies aren't copper, and silver coins aren't silver. Goodness gracious, what's next? The nickel?
Then I saw that seowulf mentioned the same thing. Sigh... I'm never too old to learn about perfidy in gubmint.