"Incredible" hoard of 50,000 Iron Age coins, buried in escape from Caesar, found in Jersey

By Ben Miller | 02 July 2012
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A photo of a mass of green and yellow-coloured Iron Age coins found by archaeologists
A solid mass representing one of the largest Iron Age coin hoards ever found has been discovered in farming fields in Jersey
© Jersey Heritage
An “incredible” hoard of Celtic coins, weighing almost a ton and believed to have been rushed across the sea in a bid to escape the clutches of Caesar’s armies during the Late Iron Age, has been discovered by two amateur metal detectorists in a Jersey field.

The solid mass, thought to contain up to 50,000 coins, was hidden by the Coriosolitae tribe of the modern-day St Malo and Dinan region.

It originates from the year 50BC, when the Roman ruler’s forces drove tribes towards the French coast as they advanced, and would have been buried after arriving from the Armorican area – now known as Brittany and Normandy.

“It is an amazing contribution to the study of Celtic coins,” said the Curator of Archaeology for Jersey Heritage, Olga Finch, who was told about the hoard by Reg Mead and Richard Miles, a duo who have spent decades detecting on the island’s Parish of Grouville.

“The fact that it has been excavated archaeologically is also rare, and will greatly enhance the level of information we can glean about the people who buried it.

“This new addition will make Jersey a magnet for Celtic coin researchers. It reinforces just how special Jersey’s archaeology is.

“This is an incredibly important archaeological find of international significance.”

Conservator Neil Mahrer, Robert Waterhouse, of historical group the Société Jersiaise, and Dr Philip de Jersey, an archaeologist for the States of Guernsey, united with the finders, farmland owner and local police to study the site and hoard on terrain pointedly protected as an Area of Archaeological Potential.

Jersey Heritage and the Department of the Environment are now attempting to increase the site’s level of protection by making it a Listed Place.

Officials say the conservation and identification of the coins will require “an incredible amount of work”. Mead, Miles and the landowner have suggested the hoard should be given to the island and put on public display.

More pictures:

A photo of an ancient Iron Age silver coin with an etching of a creature inside it
Few comparable recent hoard finds date from as long ago as the coins discovered. Their condition also makes them particularly precious
© Jersey Heritage
A photo of two archaeologists wearing helmets and green vests inside a brown pit
The Receiver General and Jersey Heritage are working to establish the status of the hoard
© Jersey Heritage
A photo of an archaeologists in a white coat examining a section of clay inside a lab
Neil Mahrer, the Conservator for Jersey Heritage, has been one of the first experts to take a look at the hoard
© Orchid Communications
A photo of a white object inside a pit of brown clay marked out within a farm field
In promising news for archaeology fans, the finders and landowner are thought to be willing to put the hoard on public display
© Jersey Heritage
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