Hoard of Iron Age gold coins found in East Anglia

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gregorach

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 15, 2005
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I know many of us here are interested in archaeology, so I thought this was worth posting:

Boudicca's gold hoard unearthed

[Not actually Boudicca's at all, but never mind...]

The largest hoard of prehistoric gold coins in Britain in modern times has been discovered by a metal detectorist in East Anglia.

The British Museum says the glittering hoard of Iron Age gold is 'unique'The 824 gold staters, worth the modern equivalent of up to £1m when they were in circulation, were in a field near Wickham Market, Suffolk. Almost all the coins were minted by royal predecessors of Boudicca, the warrior queen of the Iceni tribe who revolted against Rome in AD 60.

The solid gold staters – each weighing just over 5g – were made between 40BC and AD 15, most of them in the final 35 years of that period. They were buried in a plain pottery vessel, possibly inside a rectilinear religious compound, between 15 and AD 20.

Although it has not yet been proved, it is likely the hoard represented part of the wealth of an individual or community and was buried as a votive offering at a time of a political stress, drought or other natural disaster.

[...]

The find is the most substantial Iron Age gold coin hoard found in Britain since 1849, when a farm worker unearthed between 800 and 2,000 gold staters in a field near Milton Keynes
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,774
1,860
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Too many :soapbox:

Good on whoever reported this site and hoard, if it's in total context it's a wonderful find indeed. :approve:

cheers,
Toddy
 

Shewie

Mod
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Dec 15, 2005
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How big are those staters ? They only look about 2" in diameter on that picture, but it says they weigh as much as 5 bags of sugar each :eek:
 

gregorach

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 15, 2005
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No it doesn't. It says 5g each, not 5kg. That's about a rounded teaspoon of sugar.
 

Mesquite

Anyone for sailing?
Mar 5, 2008
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~Hemel Hempstead~
who does the gold belong to then? the finder, the landowner or the state?
If it's in England then like Scotland it belongs to the State providing they wish to keep it. If they do then the finder and landowner are given the full market value, if not then it's returned to them and they can dispose of it as they see fit.

There's a bit more to it based on percentages of gold and silver in the hoard, if it's more or less than 300 years old, if it was obivously hidden with intent to be recovered. If you want to read more about it then here's the Treasure trove act

I used to do metal detecting and like Toddy says there's a lot that's found that isn't declared due to nighthawkers going in and robbing sites. As always there's a big black market for ancient artifacts and so long as people don't care where things come from and are willing to pay money there will be this trade :(

Out of curiousity are there any other metal detectorists, past or present here?
 

Toddy

Mod
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Jan 21, 2005
35,774
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S. Lanarkshire
Good metal detectorists are brilliant to work with.
Knowlegeable, interested, prepared to do the research to know their area, and prepared to stop and think about what they're doing when necessary. Then up for finding the relevant county archaeologist and reporting something of interest.

It's the few who rob out, literally loot, the metals from a site, and in doing so remove context, provenace, and trash the stratigraphy that is used to interpret associative evidences, who give the majority a bad rep.

A good, genuinely enthusiastic and motivated amateur will beat a professional who is just working for a living nine times out of ten.

What some folks forget is that it is 'our' , collectively ours that is, cultural heritage, not just a resource to exploit to line their pockets.

cheers,
Toddy
 

mr dazzler

Native
Aug 28, 2004
1,712
79
uk
Lots of old stuff in the ground gets trashed because the builders simply cant be bothered with the hassle (additional costs and delays) if they find it, and I dont really blame them to be honest. Especially if its someones human remains, what business do a bunch of archeologists have digging it all up any way, they wouldnt do that in a modern grave yard would they; whatever happened to respecting the dead? :)
 

firecrest

Full Member
Mar 16, 2008
2,496
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uk
It says it was buried as a votive offering to the Gods, but is this accurate? I really know nothing of this kind of history but as it was buried at a time of political turmoil, isn't it likely it was buried for safe keeping? After all, the gold that was buried in egyptian tombs and was subsiquently looted was actually a professional, albeit underhand, process done by officials. The economists really had no intention of burying that amount of wealth.
 

Toddy

Mod
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Jan 21, 2005
35,774
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S. Lanarkshire
The presumption is in favour of preservation in situ, and only when a site is under threat or being developed will it be excavated and recorded. The obvious exception is research. However, it all needs paid for, and developers hate having to pay for proper excavation, recording, and accession .........it eats into their profits they say...........but once the site is destroyed we can't magically restore the knowledge it might have provided that enriches our cultural heritage.

Why am I preaching to the converted anyway :D

cheers,
Toddy
 

firecrest

Full Member
Mar 16, 2008
2,496
4
uk
Too many :soapbox:

Good on whoever reported this site and hoard, if it's in total context it's a wonderful find indeed. :approve:

cheers,
Toddy
Unfortunately part of the reason hoards do go unreported is that the finders fee is significantly less than the market value of the object, despite what is claimed.
 

mr dazzler

Native
Aug 28, 2004
1,712
79
uk
However, it all needs paid for, and developers hate having to pay for proper excavation, recording, and accession .........it eats into their profits they say...........but once the site is destroyed we can't magically restore the knowledge it might have provided that enriches our cultural heritage.
Of course it eats into their profits..... I cant figure why a developer or builder should be liable for excavation and additional costs any way? What good legitimate reason is there :confused: Just so a few archeologists from some University dept get a bit of work for a week or 2 maybe longer if they are really lucky.....and write a paper that only a few other "pro's" are ever likely to see or even read? And a developer is just that-someone who develops new building projects, they dont usually particularly care about what some iron age blacksmith or roman potter did, (and that doesnt make them philistines or less important than someone who does care:) )
 

gregorach

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 15, 2005
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Edinburgh
It says it was buried as a votive offering to the Gods, but is this accurate? I really know nothing of this kind of history but as it was buried at a time of political turmoil, isn't it likely it was buried for safe keeping?
It's possible I suppose, but there is a clear and indisputable tradition of making similar votive offerings which pre-dates the Roman invasion. Of course, it's more-or-less impossible to prove why a particular hoard was buried, but the balance of probabilities seems to favour a votive offering. If it was buried for safe-keeping, you have to wonder why it was never recovered... Sure, it's possible that everyone who knew where it was were killed shortly afterwards, but is it likely? If it had been buried slightly later (say around the Iceni revolt of AD 60) it might be a different matter.

The tradition of making votive offerings survives to this day - ever thrown a coin into a wishing well? Same thing really.
 

gregorach

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 15, 2005
3,723
26
47
Edinburgh
Of course it eats into their profits..... I cant figure why a developer or builder should be liable for excavation and additional costs any way?
All investment carries risk. You buy the land, you're responsible for what's on it. If you find a treasure trove, you're entitled to the finders fee. If you find a group of Bronze Age burials, you have to take the hit. Property development isn't a one-way bet.
 

mr dazzler

Native
Aug 28, 2004
1,712
79
uk
If you find a group of Bronze Age burials, you have to take the hit.
This is precisely why so many bits and pieces get quietly ignored and left just where they were. No sane businessman wants yet more officials on top of the crowds of existing ones they are compelled to deal with-and fund-under so called normal circumstances. And to have to tolerate pointless delays.
The sutton hoo type stuff that the public actually do find interesting is rare, and I still really question if any one has any right to dig it up anyway? If the stuff is that important maybe the archeology dept's should fund site dig's, they seem to be the ones that are most passionate about the artifacts :) Its a hard but true fact that not many outside the "industry" really give 2 hoots.
 

Toddy

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Jan 21, 2005
35,774
1,860
S. Lanarkshire
I think you are gravely mistaken.
I do know however that the only other source of funding, the govenment, has cut there expenditure on cultural heritage to the bone. The UK pays about 11p per person per year, other nations value their heritage and the average is about £11.
Therefore it is left to those who wish to use the land to cough up for the work.

Catch 22.

And on that note, this is becoming a political post, and I'll stop that topic there.

Archaeologists have no say in what land the developers choose to use, only that it ought to be properly examined before any evidences are permanently destroyed.

cheers,
Toddy
 

Pang

Forager
Sep 8, 2007
170
0
london
i bet everyone's gone adn brought out their old metal detectors for their next trip! lol, might even become a standard kit