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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Iron Age Gold Unearthed in Suffolk Field

From: World Coin News

In spring 2008 a hoard of 783 ancient British gold coins was discovered by a metal detectorist near the village of Wickham Market in southeast Suffolk, England. It is one of the largest hoards of Iron Age gold coins ever found in Britain and is one of the most important because it was unearthed virtually in situ, where it was buried 2,000 years ago in an earthenware pot.

A small-scale excavation of the hoard site, jointly funded by the British Museum and Suffolk County Council, was conducted last Oct. 14-15. The two-day dig revealed that the hoard had been deposited within a ditched enclosure of late Iron Age date and produced 42 more gold coins, bringing the total to 825. Two intersecting ditches were partially excavated; the shards of wheel-thrown pottery found in them suggest one was open in the late Iron Age and the other was dug and filled in later during the Roman period.

All but two of the 825 gold coins were minted in East Anglia by the Iceni, Queen Boudica's tribe. The two "foreigners" came from Lincolnshire. Five of the gold coins - the earliest in the hoard - were made about 40-30 B.C. They are known as Snettisham Type after a hoard excavated at Snettisham, Norfolk, in 1987-1989. The vast bulk of the Wickham Market hoard - 818 coins - are all Freckenham Type gold staters, named after the 90 or more found in a pot in a garden at Freckenham, Suffolk, in 1885. They were minted over a period of two or three decades, probably sometime around 20 B.C.-15 A.D., perhaps by two or three different rulers of the Iceni who may have governed concurrently.

John Talbot, a specialist in the Iron Age coinage of East Anglia - he is also chairman of the English National Ballet and managing director of Johnson Cleaners - visited the excavation and believes that the Wickham Market hoard may have been buried sometime around 15 A.D. or shortly afterward. During the past nine years, Talbot has made a detailed die study of more than 9,000 coins of the Iceni and is regarded as the foremost expert in this field. His deposition date of approximately 15 A.D. therefore carries some weight - a welcome bonus for Suffolk archaeologists who are accustomed to working with much broader chronologies in the Iron Age.

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  1. Great post on gold and silver coins. We will include some of your writing and link into our newsletter to our gold coin collector forum newsletter and social website.
    gold coins

  2. Thank you for visiting this site and I'm glad that you enjoy reading the news postings. As you will note, this piece of writing was done by Chris Rudd for World Coin News, so you may need to contact them accordingly should you decide to use the whole article for commercial purposes. Thanks again for your interest.


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