Since the hoard was excavated in summer 2012 we have been waiting to start taking it apart to find out just what is inside. We have now just about finished doing everything that we had to do first so some time in the next few days we will remove our first coins. It took the best part of two years to organize all the funding and permissions for the work and then the last couple of months to get our equipment and staff. Viki has now started with us and thank God for that as, together with Georgia, they have picked up the scanner software training more easily than I did. This training wasn't helped by the fact that the laser scanner arrived broken and had to be shipped back to Germany for repair. The training unfortunately had already been booked so we had to do it before the scanner re-appeared. Fortunately the scanner company sent someone over the following week to finish the hands-on stuff we'd missed and we are all pretty much up to speed on it. We have just about finished the definitive first laser scan of the hoard's surface. This will be the most accurate permanent record of how the hoard was before we started work on it so it was important to get this right.
The job of cleaning all the loose coins that we had already removed from the hord and its vicinity is now almost done as well. We've cleaned over two thousand coins and this gives some idea of the hoard's full size as it's made virtually no difference to its appearance. We have been lucky to have Reg Meade and Richard Miles, the hoard finders, still working with us as they have been invaluable for coin recognition. I'm sure that Reg won't mind me saying that Richard in particular has turned out to be an expert and has now taken over the job of classification as his main role in our team. We've just started putting all the records of the cleaned coins on our public access database so anyone will be able to follow our progress soon. We will include all the information we know about the coins including photographs of them in their finished state.
One type of coins we've found have turned out to be a real mystery. Most of the hoard is made up of staters (about the size of a 10p coin) and quarter staters (smaller than a 5p) but we are finding increasing numbers of even smaller ones, called petit billons. Apparently there were only tens of these coins known in the world before our hoard but we are now finding several every day. The previous ones had always been found in Jersey as well and apparently there is no accepted dating system for these or knowledge even of which tribes made them so it's all very mysterious.
Well that's about it for now but hopefully I'll post again the next few days showing our first seperated coins, hooray!