Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Coins cast continental clues as Harborough Museum shows Peatling Magna hoard to public

A gallery devoted to the Hallaton Treasure of Iron Age and Roman finds already makes Harborough Museum, in Leicestershire, a must-see museum for archaeology fans.
And it has struck gold again with a set of ten gold coins, discovered in a village but offering a glimpse into the intercontinental connections the ancient tribes of the county might have enjoyed 2,000 years ago.

"When you find the first one, you don't quite believe it's gold," says Steve Bestwick, of Leicester Search Society, who detected the coins in Peatling Magna in the autumn of 2010.
"When you find a few, you realise there could be lots. Then you focus, listen carefully to your machine. This could be the dream find – an ancient hoard."

Beyond Bestwick's initial thrill lie myriad mysteries. "These coins bring up so many questions. Why did they come to Leicestershire? What sort of journey they have been on?

"How did they get here from the continent, so long ago before cross-channel ferries? Who was the last person to hold them and what did they mean to them?"
Some of the answers are fairly clear. As the museum puts them on public display, curators have dated the coins to around 50 or 60 BC, made of a style symbolic of north-west France and the Low Countries, which were given the Latin name of Gallo Belgica during their Roman occupation at the time.