14TH OCTOBER 2016 - Coin Hoard Blog - Jersey Heritage

Sorry if it's been a bit thin on blogs recently. The problem is that they are usually written as the result of some recent find in the hoard or notable milestone in the project. Our trouble of late is that we just haven't been finding much except coins for a while.

Milestone wise we are doing fine.  Yesterday we removed our 58000th coin so we are within sight of the end now really.  About a third of the hoard has been removed right down to its earth floor and much of the rest is only 5cm thick or less.  Our current dullness issue is that we are working in an area of the hoard where there is little except a very uniform type of coinage coming out. 

If there is one interesting thing about the current dullness it is that it might be revealing something about the history of the hoard.  Richard, our hoard finder (and now coin identifier) was looking at which type of coins were coming from which part of the hoard and he thinks he can see a simple pattern developing.  It all boils down to the different types of coin from one tribe, the Coriosolitae (which is important as the vast bulk of our hoard's coins are from this tribe). 

The simplest chronology of their coinage basically boils down to their only really producing large numbers of coins in a short period leading up to the Roman invasion by Julius Caesar (and friends).  The earlier coins from these few short years were quite high in silver but soon the silver percentage dropped off dramatically till they only had 10-15% in some cases.  The story is of course more complex than this and the different types of coinage may actually be linked to different geographical areas within that part of Armorica, but for the moment stick with the broad brush picture.

What Richard seems to have spotted is that following a roughly diagonal line across the hoard's centre, one half is made up of early, silver-rich coins while the other half are later, lower quality coins.  This is interesting in itself but what he also noted is that almost all of the jewellery, beads and other unusual finds are in the older coin half while the later half (where we are now working) is uniformly just coinage.  We've always known that the hoard must be made up of something like thirty to fifty bags of material poured into a common hole but now this split might show that it is perhaps mostly made up of two previously different hoards, one some years older than the other. 

It's early days on this theory and we probably won't get a definitive answer as to whether this is true till we have finished the cataloguing of every coin and have the data in a format where it can be researched properly but it's a great hint of what we may yet discover about our treasure's history