Milestone reached for Jersey’s Celtic coin hoard
The Catillon II Iron Age coin hoard project being undertaken by Jersey Heritage is reaching an important milestone on January the 20th. After nearly three years and almost seventy thousand coins the conservation team will be separating the very last few coins on that Friday afternoon. The project itself will continue with much conservation and research work still to be done but this will mark the last day the hoard itself exists as an object.
The hoard was discovered in 2012 by local metal detectorists Reg Mead and Richard Miles and was excavated by a team of archaeologists from Jersey Heritage, the Société Jersiaise and Guernsey Museum in July that year. The hoard is over two thousand years old and appears to have been buried by the Coriosolitae tribe of French Celts around 30-50 BC. At approximately 70,000 coins the Catillon II Iron Age coin hoard is about six times bigger than any other Celtic hoard found in the world. It also includes a large number of gold neck torques and other pieces of jewellery as well as glass beads, a leather purse and a woven bag of silver and gold work.
Over the last three years the Jersey Heritage team has removed, recorded and cleaned every coin one at a time and built a unique virtual model of the hoard that will keep researchers busy for years to come. Although the hoard itself will no longer exist, the lab at La Hougue Bie in Jersey will re-open to the public this year as the team of staff and volunteers continue to clean and record its contents.
Neil Mahrer, who has led the conservation project from the beginning, said “This is a significant milestone for the team. It has been painstaking but thoroughly intriguing work, which has delivered some very unexpected and amazing finds along the way. There is still plenty to do and I am sure the Hoard will continue to surprise us as we clean and record the material.”
One of the most eagerly anticipated moments on the 20th will be to know finally just how many coins there actually are in the hoard. The best guess for the last two years has been 70,950 and as the last days tick by the team has reached 68,000 and counting. -