Thornbury Hoard

Last updated

Coordinates: 51°36′34″N2°31′30″W / 51.6094°N 2.5249°W / 51.6094; -2.5249

Geographic coordinate system Coordinate system

A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on Earth to be specified by a set of numbers, letters or symbols. The coordinates are often chosen such that one of the numbers represents a vertical position and two or three of the numbers represent a horizontal position; alternatively, a geographic position may be expressed in a combined three-dimensional Cartesian vector. A common choice of coordinates is latitude, longitude and elevation. To specify a location on a plane requires a map projection.

Contents

Thornbury Hoard
Thornbury Hoard Coins.jpg
Coins from the hoard, photographed in 2007
Material Silver, pottery
Size 11,460 coins
Period/culture Romano-British
Discovered Thornbury, South Gloucestershire by Ken Allen in March, 2004
Present location Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, Bristol
Identification 2004 T147 (Fig 450)

The Thornbury Hoard is a hoard of 11,460 copper alloy Roman coins, mainly radiates and nummi, dating from 260 to 348, found in the back garden of Ken Allen in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, England while digging a pond in March 2004. It was described as the "third largest of its kind" found in Great Britain. [1] [2]

Hoard Collection of valuable objects or artifacts

A hoard or "wealth deposit" is an archaeological term for a collection of valuable objects or artifacts, sometimes purposely buried in the ground, in which case it is sometimes also known as a cache. This would usually be with the intention of later recovery by the hoarder; hoarders sometimes died or were unable to return for other reasons before retrieving the hoard, and these surviving hoards might then be uncovered much later by metal detector hobbyists, members of the public, and archaeologists.

Roman currency

Roman currency for most of Roman history consisted of gold, silver, bronze, orichalcum and copper coinage. From its introduction to the Republic, during the third century BC, well into Imperial times, Roman currency saw many changes in form, denomination, and composition. A persistent feature was the inflationary debasement and replacement of coins over the centuries. Notable examples of this followed the reforms of Diocletian. This trend continued into Byzantine times.

Nummus

Nummus, plural nummi (νοῦμμοι) is a Latin term meaning "coin", but used technically by modern writers for a range of low-value copper coins issued by the Roman and Byzantine empires during Late Antiquity. It comes from the Greek nomos via its Western Doric form noummos, which was used to describe a coin in some parts of southern Italy. The word was also used during the later years of the Roman Republic and the early Empire, either as a general word for a coin, or to describe the sestertius, which was the standard unit for keeping accounts.

Discovery, treatment and valuation

The hoard was discovered by Ken Allen while digging a pond in his back garden. [2] The coins were in a coarse grey ware decorated pot measuring 40–50 cm (16–20 in) high—thought to have originated in Caldicot, Monmouthshire—which had been damaged in the ground. [2]

Caldicot, Monmouthshire town in Monmouthshire, southeast Wales

Caldicot is a town and community in Monmouthshire, southeast Wales, located between Chepstow and Newport on the Gloucester to Newport Line served primarily by Caldicot station, whilst by road it is just off the busy M4 / M48 motorway corridor. The site adjoins the Caldicot Levels, on the north side of the Severn Estuary. Caldicot has easy access on the railway west to Newport, Cardiff Central and east to Chepstow, Lydney, and Gloucester, as well as one stop west to Severn Tunnel Junction and then east via the Severn Tunnel to Filton Abbeywood and Bristol Temple Meads and further afield. Generally good road access to Cardiff and across the Second Severn Crossing, old Severn Bridge to Bristol. The population of the town is around 11,000. It has a large school, Caldicot Comprehensive School, and is known for its medieval castle.

Allen reported the find and took it to Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery where it was weighed in at 28.6 kg (63 lb), and "took two people to lift the bucket it had been collected in". [2] For the most part, the coins were readily identified after drying and chemical treatment.

Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery museum in Bristol, England

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery is a large museum and art gallery in Bristol, England. The museum is situated in Clifton, about 0.5 miles (0.8 km) from the city centre. As part of Bristol Culture it is run by the Bristol City Council with no entrance fee. It holds designated museum status, granted by the national government to protect outstanding museums. The designated collections include: geology, Eastern art, and Bristol's history, including English delftware. In January 2012 it became one of sixteen Arts Council England Major Partner Museums.

At an inquest, the Coroner declared the hoard Treasure and a valuation committee subsequently valued it at £40,000. [1] Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery acquired the hoard, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Headley Museums Treasure Acquisition Scheme, and other organisational funding. [1]

Inquests in England and Wales are held into sudden and unexplained deaths and also into the circumstances of discovery of a certain class of valuable artefacts known as "treasure trove". In England and Wales, inquests are the responsibility of a coroner, who operates under the jurisdiction of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.

Treasure trove amount of money or coin, gold, silver, plate, or bullion found hidden

Treasure trove is an amount of money or coin, gold, silver, plate, or bullion found hidden underground or in places such as cellars or attics, where the treasure seems old enough for it to be presumed that the true owner is dead and the heirs undiscoverable. The legal definition of what constitutes treasure trove and its treatment under law vary considerably from country to country, and from era to era.

Items discovered

The Hoard on display at the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery. Thornbury Hoard, Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery 1.jpg
The Hoard on display at the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery.

The hoard was said to be the "third largest of its kind" [2] and consisted of 11,449 copper alloy nummi and 11 copper alloy radiates, the earliest dating from during the reign of Gallienus in 260; the latest being struck in 348, during the Constantinian dynasty. However, the vast majority were minted in the 330s and consisted of three reverse types showing "Gloria Exercitus", meaning "to the glory of the army" – either carrying a reverse design of "two soldiers with legionary standards" or commemorative types depicting the Roman capitals of Rome and Constantinople. Others commemorated the battle of Chrysopolis fought between Constantine I and Licinius: these coins depict Victory standing on the prow of a ship.

Gallienus Roman emperor

Gallienus, also known as Gallien, was Roman Emperor with his father Valerian from 22 October 253 to spring 260 and alone from spring 260 to September 268. He ruled during the Crisis of the Third Century that nearly caused the collapse of the empire. While he won a number of military victories, he was unable to prevent the secession of important provinces. His 15-year reign was the longest since the 19-year rule of Caracalla.

The Constantinian dynasty is an informal name for the ruling family of the Roman Empire from Constantius Chlorus to the death of Julian in 363. It is named after its most famous member, Constantine the Great who became the sole ruler of the empire in 324. The dynasty is also called Neo-Flavian because every Constantinian emperor bore the name Flavius, similarly to the rulers of the first Flavian dynasty in the 1st century.

Obverse and reverse front and back side of coins, medals, orders of merit, and paper bills

Obverse and its opposite, reverse, refer to the two flat faces of coins and some other two-sided objects, including paper money, flags, seals, medals, drawings, old master prints and other works of art, and printed fabrics. In this usage, obverse means the front face of the object and reverse means the back face. The obverse of a coin is commonly called heads, because it often depicts the head of a prominent person, and the reverse tails.

The find was compared in size and constitution [1] to those of the Nether Compton (22,670 coins) [3] and Bishopswood (17,548 coins) hoards, found in 1989 and 1895 respectively.

ReignDate range№ of coinsTypeNotes
Gallienus 260–2682 radiate
Claudius II 268–2701radiate
Tetricus I/II 271–2746radiate
Carausius 287–2931radiate
1 barbarous radiate
Constantine I 313–31713 nummi inc 2 nummus fractions
Constantine II 318–33059nummi
Constantinian 330–33511,232nummiGloria Exercitus (2 commemorative standards)
Constantinian335–34087nummiGloria Exercitus (legionary standard)
Constantinian341–3482nummiTwo Victories
49barbarous nummi
7uncertainillegible

See also

Related Research Articles

Bronze metal alloy

Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of other metals and sometimes non-metals or metalloids such as arsenic, phosphorus or silicon. These additions produce a range of alloys that may be harder than copper alone, or have other useful properties, such as stiffness, ductility, or machinability.

Thornbury, Gloucestershire market town in South Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire, England

Thornbury is a market town and civil parish in South Gloucestershire district of the county of Gloucestershire, England, about 12 miles (19 km) north of Bristol. It had a population of 12,063 at the 2011 Census. Thornbury is a Britain in Bloom award-winning town, with its own competition, Thornbury in Bloom. Nearby villages include Morton and Thornbury Park. The civil parish includes the hamlet of Milbury Heath.

South Gloucestershire Unitary authority area in England

South Gloucestershire is a unitary authority area in South West England. It comprises multiple suburban areas to the north and east of Bristol as well as a large rural hinterland. South Gloucestershire was created in 1996 from the northern section of the county of Avon, which was abolished at that time.

Hoxne Hoard Largest hoard of late Roman silver and gold discovered in Britain

The Hoxne Hoard is the largest hoard of late Roman silver and gold discovered in Britain, and the largest collection of gold and silver coins of the fourth and fifth centuries found anywhere within the Roman Empire. It was found by Eric Lawes, a metal detectorist in the village of Hoxne in Suffolk, England in 1992. The hoard consists of 14,865 Roman gold, silver, and bronze coins and approximately 200 items of silver tableware and gold jewellery. The objects are now in the British Museum in London, where the most important pieces and a selection of the rest are on permanent display. In 1993, the Treasure Valuation Committee valued the hoard at £1.75 million.

Thornbury railway station served the town of Thornbury in Gloucestershire. The station was the terminus of a short 7.5-mile (12 km) branch from Yate on the Midland Railway's line between Bristol and Gloucester.

The Cunetio Hoard, also known as the Mildenhall Hoard, is the largest hoard of Roman coins found in Britain. It was discovered in 1978 at the site of the Roman town of Cunetio, near modern-day Mildenhall, Wiltshire, and consisted of 54,951 low value coins. The coins were contained in a large pot and a lead container. The coins are now in the British Museum and the pot is on display at the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes.

Frome Hoard hoard found near Frome in Somerset, England

The Frome Hoard is a hoard of 52,503 Roman coins found in April 2010 by metal detectorist Dave Crisp near Frome in Somerset, England. The coins were contained in a ceramic pot 45 cm (18 in) in diameter, and date from AD 253 to 305. Most of the coins are made from debased silver or bronze. The hoard is one of the largest ever found in Britain, and is also important as it contains the largest group ever found of coins issued during the reign of Carausius, who ruled Britain independently from 286 to 293 and was the first Roman Emperor to strike coins in Britain. The Museum of Somerset in Taunton, using a grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), acquired the hoard in 2011 for a value of £320,250.

The Stanchester Hoard is a hoard of 1,166 Roman coins dating from the fourth to early fifth century found at Wilcot, in the Vale of Pewsey, Wiltshire, England in 2000. The find was considered important because of the large quantity of unclipped silver coins contained within. It was also the latest dated example of Roman coins found in Wiltshire.

Shapwick Hoard

The Shapwick Hoard is a hoard of 9,262 Roman coins found at Shapwick, Somerset, England in September 1998. The coins dated from as early as 31–30 BC up until 224 AD. The hoard also notably contained two rare coins which had not been discovered in Britain before, and the largest number of silver denarii ever found in Britain.

Shrewsbury Hoard hoard of Roman coins

The Shrewsbury Hoard is a hoard of 9,315 bronze Roman coins discovered by a metal detectorist in a field near Shrewsbury, Shropshire in August 2009. The coins were found in a large pottery storage jar that was buried in about AD 335.

West Bagborough Hoard

The West Bagborough Hoard is a hoard of 670 Roman coins and 72 pieces of hacksilver found in October 2001 by metal detectorist James Hawkesworth near West Bagborough in Somerset, England.

The Rogiet Hoard is a hoard of 3,778 Roman coins found at Rogiet, Monmouthshire, Wales in September 1998. The coins dated from 253 up until 295–296. The hoard notably contained several faulty issues, and some rare denominations, including those depicting the usurper emperors Carausius and Allectus.

Wickham Market Hoard Iron Age hoard

The Wickham Market Hoard is a hoard of 840 Iron Age gold staters found in a field at Dallinghoo near Wickham Market, Suffolk, England in March 2008 by car mechanic, Michael Dark using a metal detector. After excavation of the site, a total of 825 coins were found, and by the time the hoard was declared treasure trove, 840 coins had been discovered. The coins date from 40 BC to 15 AD.

Bredon Hill Hoard

The Bredon Hill Hoard is a hoard of 3,784 debased silver Roman coins discovered in June 2011 by two metal detectorists at Woollas Hall Farm on Bredon Hill in Worcestershire, approximately 400 metres north of Kemerton Camp, an Iron Age hill fort. The coins were found in a clay pot that had been buried around the middle of the 4th century in a Roman villa, identified by the subsequent archaeological excavation. The coins include the reigns of sixteen different emperors during the mid to late 3rd century, and are the largest hoard of Roman coins to have been discovered in Worcestershire to date.

Beau Street Hoard

The Beau Street Hoard, found in Bath, Somerset, is the fifth-largest hoard ever found in Britain and the largest ever discovered in a British Roman town. It consists of an estimated 17,500 silver Roman coins dating from between 32 BC and 274 AD. The hoard was found on Beau Street about 150 metres (490 ft) from the town's Roman Baths, built when Bath was a Roman colony known as Aquae Sulis.

The Seaton Down Hoard is a hoard of 22,888 Roman coins found in November 2013 by metal detectorist Laurence Egerton near Seaton Down in Devon, England.

Wold Newton Hoard

The Wold Newton Hoard is coin hoard dating from the early 4th century AD. It contains 1,857 coins held within a pottery container. It was acquired by the Yorkshire Museum in 2016.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 "Treasure Annual Report 2004" (PDF). Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2013-11-10.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "Pots of money... Roman style!" (PDF). South Gloucestershire Council. 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-04. Retrieved 2013-11-10.
  3. "Nether Compton Hoard". Forum Ancient Coins. Retrieved 2010-07-17.