We particularly want to be finished by then because my colleague Viki Le Quelenec is jumping ship in late January to start studying for a PhD on English hoards. Viki, along with Georgia, joined me at the begining of the project after they'd finished archaeology degrees and returned to the island looking for their first job. Viki took to the work like a duck to water and has taken a lead on many aspects of the recording and scanning of the hoard. The way she has taken on more responsibility and more of a management role than I'd ever expected has made my own work much easier over the last two and a half years and I'll always be grateful to her. All of us wish her well in her studies and look forward to seeing her again when she returns from the far North in summer.
Not having a big enough set of scales to weigh it ourselves we took our sealed block of untreated coins down to our local post office yesterday to get an accurate weight. This, combined with some estimates and maths, gave us a reasonably accurate number of coins in it for the first time. The number turned out to be over 2000 which, combined with the 64000 plus we removed one at a time, mean we have removed about 66500 so far. My best guess for what's left is around 5000 which would put our final number suspiciously close to my long time estimate of 70950. I'd love the number to be really close to that as no-one would ever believe it!
We began the year still really finding our feet in terms of working fast enough but we end it comfortably ahead of where we need to be and confident of finishing everything properly and on time. As well as thanking Viki and Georgia for this, the real stars have been our volunteer team. Every day of the week for two years they've been here photographing, scrubbing, filling out sheets and putting info into our databases. We could really never have done this without you all so a huge thank you to each one of you. I hope we'll see you all next year and don't worry, we'll be keeping you busy! We may finish the disassembly soon but the coin cleaning will take a while longer than that. Also we have decided to return for a second look at the first few thousand coins we treated. We were very concious of time pressue then and didn't do as much work on each coin as we have since so a second pass will allow us to get them as nice as all the rest. We still have a the small matter of fifteen thousand computer records and sixty thousand photos to do yet as well!
A Merry Chrimbo to one and all then and let's catch up in the new year to see what we've found then!