7th December 2015 - Coin Hoard Blog - Jersey Heritage

Ever since we found the various pieces of gold jewellery within the hoard we've had questions about how they were made and what was inside them. Now that we've taken them out of the hoard we've had the chance to start X-raying them and we've got our first answers.

First off, the images confirm that the gold torques are hollow as we'd long thought.  They are made from gold tubing about 1mm thick.  We knew that some similar ones found elsewhere had an interior iron "hoop" and sure enough we can see that ours appear to have this as well.  The iron appears to be in good condition.  In typical damp burial conditions here in Jersey the iron would normally corrode to a shapeless mass of rust in a short time but the original outlines in ours seem to be little changed.  I had wondered if this was because the iron is being protected from the water by the original wax or resin filling that apparently was poured into the gold tubing to strengthen it as it hardened.  A colleague from the Staffordshire hoard however has suggested that the iron may have survived because the burial layer was protected from oxygen (which it would need to rust) by the clay-like soil found at this depth.  This may well be true and may make us revise our ideas as to why a lot of fragile materials like all the organics have survived.

The gold we have extracted roughly divides into torques (not crushed and often complete) and crushed, flattened gold tubes of similar 1mm thickness.  We had assumed that these were crushed torques but we now think they may be something else.  Some are decorated in a different way with tube diameters too big for the complete torques we've found and finally their end decorations, like ropework, are also different.  Hopefully we'll have more idea what they might be soon.

We're trapped once more in the desolation of stock taking week at the moment but this veil will no doubt pass from us soon and once I begin to find out more interesting stuff I'll let you know.