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The hoard has recently been moved and now housed in the museum at La Hougue Bie. Since its discovery, by two metal detectorists, conservators have been removing on average about 500 coins per week out of the estimated total of possibly 50,000! But it’s not only coins making up this most amazing mass, for once coins started being removed, gold torcs and jewellery began to reveal themselves and to date seven torcs have now been exposed! An estimated value of the whole package has been put at over £10m which is a phenomenal amount! Even though they were just recording on the day I was there, you are able to observe the conservators at work as they painstakingly take the hoard apart, cleaning and conserving the contents as they go.
A notice informs you that the coins are made from a mix of silver and copper and why they are now dark green
Also hidden in Jersey’s eastern countryside at La Hougue Bie and within its grounds, lies one of Europe’s finest prehistoric monuments. At the heart of this tranquil site stands a medieval church atop a prehistoric mound under which lies a 6,000-year-old Neolithic Cruciform Armorican Passage Grave. Without a doubt this is the Channel Islands jewel in the crown and an absolute ‘must see’.
Now that the hoard is safely housed in the purposely built lab it is more reason to pay the site a visit. You certainly won’t be disappointed that’s for sure, but do take a torch along with you to view the inside of the passage grave as the lighting is minimal! Alternatively, check out this excellent website that displays the chambered tomb superbly.
Jersey Heritage itself has a very informative website here and here. Within the museum is a fascinating geology and Ice-Age area aside from other coin hoards, axes, swords and spears belonging to Jersey’s Neolithic community.
As a reminder of more recent times, especially to the islanders (not that they need reminding that is) is a command bunker built during the German Occupation of Jersey and turned into a memorial dedicated to the slave-workers brought to the Channel Islands by invading Nazi forces during the Second World War and treated abominably. Personally, I chose not to enter this ‘museum in its own right’ as I find it too depressing and in a way not in keeping with the wonder of the other exhibits. Family memories and all that!
That aside, there is a large picnic area where you can enjoy a day out amongst the beautiful surroundings of this mainly peaceful and spiritual site.
A closer look at the hoard through the glass screen of the purposely built lab
A fantastic aerial view of the church atop the mound. The entrance to the passage grave can be observed to the left of the mound
The wonderfully constructed entrance to the passage grave
Both the grave and the church are orientated east/west, the tomb entrance facing east in common fashion. And just when the excitement of discovering the Celtic hoard at Grouville couldn’t have been more, this was then discovered at Trinity …again by a metal detectorist!
Say what you like about metal detectorists but without a doubt they have been responsible for re-writing much of our history by the finds they have made. In many cases it has been in areas not even considered by archaeologists so unlikely to have ever been discovered without their help. Such a shame that they are not given the credit due to them because of a small minority not playing by the rules and getting more attention than they deserve in certain quarters.
Dr Tim Pestell holding the 3,500 year-old Bronze Age dirk that was found in Norfolk a decade ago
Image credit Steve Adams
Trevor Heaton, writing for EDP24, reports on the spectacular Norfolk treasure that has been unveiled after years of being used as a doorstop –
The 3,500-year-old Rudham Dirk, a ceremonial Middle Bronze Age dagger, was first ploughed up near East Rudham more than a decade ago. But the landowner didn’t realise what it was and was using it to prop open his office door. And the bronze treasure even came close to being thrown in a skip, but luckily archaeologists identified it in time. Now the dirk has been bought for Norfolk for close to £41,000 and is now on display in Norwich Castle Museum.
The 1.9kg (4lb) dirk is made from bronze, which is nine-tenths copper and one-tenth tin. The nearest source for the copper is Wales, while the tin may have come from Cornwall. Straightened out, it would be 68cm long, slightly shorter than the Oxborough example [a similar dirk now in the British Museum]. It may even have been made in the same workshop, maybe even by the same craftsperson.
Natalie McCaul, Curator of Archaeology at the Yorkshire Museum, with the gold torc (right) that the Museum is hoping to buy and reunite with one found metres from it at Towton (left) already in the Museum’s collection
Dan Bean, writing in The Press yesterday, reports that –
Not far from the Heuneburg, the site of an early Celtic settlement, researchers stumbled upon the elaborate grave of a Celtic princess. In addition to gold and amber, they found a subterranean burial chamber fitted with massive oak beams. It was an archeological sensation that, after 2,600 years, the chamber was completely intact.
Full article here.
The Snettisham Torc in the British Museum. Source Wikimedia Commons. Image credit Ealdgyth
Under the title “The World of the Celts. Centres of power – Treasures of art”, the Baden-Württemberg State Museum of Archaeology and the Württemberg State Museum are showing a special exhibition dedicated to the Celts of the first millennium BC and their role as one of the formative forces in European history.
From 15 September 2012 to 17 February 2013, visitors can experience what will probably be the largest exhibition of Celtic artefacts in the last thirty years. The special exhibition will present outstanding original finds, in some cases objects never before exhibited in Germany, in two large topical blocks on display at two locations near Schlossplatz at the very centre of Stuttgart.