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It is clear from the discoveries reported this year that the Treasure Act and Portable Antiquities Scheme goes from strength to strength. The ITV series this year shows just how much these finds have captured the public’s imagination and changed our understanding of the past. It is a scheme which is envied the world over. I am very grateful to the Department for Culture Media and Sport for continuing to support the Scheme and to Treasure Hunting magazine who have continued to publish PAS reports. And to other generous funders such as The Headley Trust, Institute for Archaeologists and the Heritage Lottery Fund who support staff to ensure that the Scheme can continue its vital work. As well as the funding bodies who have helped acquire Treasure finds.
Richard Abdy, Curator of Roman Coins as the British Museum, writes of the second largest hoard of Roman gold coins (shown above) ever found in Britain that -
The discovery was made by a metal-detectorist near to St Albans, Hertfordshire, and reported to his local Finds Liaison Officer. In October 2012 the findspot was excavated by a team of archaeologists from St Albans City and District Museums Service and altogether 159 coins were recovered. The coins date to the late 4th to early 5th century AD (after AD 408 regular supplies of Roman coinage to Britain ceased) and were mostly struck in the Italian cities of Milan and Ravenna and issued under the Emperors Gratian, Valentinian II, Theodosius I, Arcadius and Honorius. The largest hoard of Roman solidi was found at Hoxne in Suffolk in 1992 and comprised 565 solidi. Richard Abdy said: “This is a hugely exciting find. During the period of the Roman occupation of Britain, coins were usually buried for two reasons; as a religious sacrifice to the Gods, or as a secure store of wealth, with the aim of later recovery. The late date of the coins suggests their burial could have been associated with the turbulent separation of Britain from the Roman Empire c. AD 410″.
The Hoard will be on view in the Citi Money Gallery at the British Museum from 4 December. More here.
Harborough Museum reports that -
The type of coin known as a denarius was first struck in Rome in 211 BC, making the Hallaton coin a very early version. The surface of the coin is worn suggesting it was well used before arriving in Britain and being buried at Hallaton. How the Corieltavi tribe came into possession of this coin either before the Roman invasion of AD 43 or very soon after is a mystery. Did it arrive here through trade or diplomacy before the invasion, or was it brought to Britain by an invading soldier? Either way, it is a very rare find at a Late Iron Age site and suggests the Corieltavi tribe had contact with Rome earlier than previously thought.
The coin above and the Peatling Magna Hoard are on permanent display in the Hallaton Treasure Gallery at Harborough Museum.
The Mersea Museum
The Mersea Island Museum is an independent museum established in 1976 and occupying purpose-built premises in the centre of West Mersea, just to the east of the Parish Church. The traditional local activities of fishing, oystering, wild fowling and boat building are represented. The reconstruction within the museum of a typical weather-boarded fisherman’s cottage provides an interior display centred on a Victorian coal-fired kitchen range, with adjoining facilities for washing clothes using old-fashioned manual equipment. Children are welcome, with puzzles and quizzes available.
The eastern mole (Scalopus Aquaticus). Source Wikimedia. Image credit Kenneth Catania
Moles have played a significant role in the history of Britain, as the Jacobean toast to The little gentleman in velvet recalls. Recently English Heritage has been keeping a careful watch as volunteers sift their way through hundreds of molehills at Epiacum - an isolated Roman fort close to the Cumbrian border and 12 miles south of Hadrian’s Wall. Epiacum is a scheduled ancient monument and, as such, unauthorised excavations there are banned. That isn’t stopping the little gentlemen in velvet from doing a bit of interesting digging of their own however. The Northerner Blog of The Guardian reports that -
Digging is what moles do, and when they live on a scheduled ancient monument that can be quite helpful, at least to the Birley-minded school of thought. Take Epiacum, which was a Roman fort some 12 miles south of the wall at present-day Whitley Castle on the 1000-acre fields of Castle Nook farm.
Moles have been so busy there that English Heritage has drafted in 37 volunteers to sieve through their molehills and carefully take out anything ancient which has been brought to the surface. So far, they have found a bead from a jet necklace, pieces of earthenware pots and a quarter-inch-long shard of rarer and more valuable Samian ware pottery.
Full article here.