That's it, the hoard's gone. Observant followers of this blog will probably already know it's actually been gone a month and I've been habitually tardy with the blogging. I would say in my defense that we've been very busy and my computer blew up so I couldn't convert the Raw files from my camera.

Anyway...The day went very well.  You can see from the picture above that the lab was full.  Mostly this motley crew are our volunteer team and it was great that they were there because we certainly wouldn't have reached this point without them.  Largely for dramatic effect the block of earth that the hoard used to sit on was covered with Clingfilm leaving only the final patch of coins open.  It looked like we were preparing for key hole surgery.  We had left a group of ten coins in place for this last event and we did a Facebook live broadcast, , for their removal which was a bit nervewracking.  We made sure that two of the ten coins were just stuck to each other and after leaving them till last and saving their positions we invited Reg Mead and Richard Miles, the two hoard finders, to snap them apart.

All we were left with then was the 15cm thick earth block that the hoard had been sitting on for the last five years.  We did a sweep with a metal detector and then trowelled down a few cm to see if we'd missed anything.  We did find a few coins but the nice final surprise was another glass bead.  This was a beautiful dark green and much smaller than the others we'd found so far.  The earth was then broken up and is now waiting, rather sadly, in a bin to be seived in case we'd missed anything.

As we were preparing for the re-opening of the lab to the public (we're now open Sundays) we had to move right on and get the remains of the hoard and its furniture out of the way.  We have replaced it at the lab's long window with a new low work bench where visitors will be able to see us conserving and recording the remaining material.  It all looks good but at first the lab looked weirdly empty and it's going to take some getting used to.  

We still don't know the final number of coins in the hoard yet for two reasons.  One is that we still have several thousand coins to clean and every now and again we find a tiny quarter stater hidden in the earth and corrosion around a larger stater.  The other reason is that we preserved a roughly 15cm cube of coins untreated for future research.  I did some maths and have an estimate of the number I think are in there (around 2160) but we won't have the correct number till we CT scan it.  Inspite of these uncertainties we do have a back of a fag packet number now, accurate to perhaps a couple of hundred and that is around sixty nine and half thousand coins. As we'd been saying we thought there were around seventy thousand coins there right from the begining I can definitely live with that figure!

The actual work in the lab hasn't changed that much day to day since the hoard vanished.  We are still treating 120 coins a day or so and expect this to carry on for another six weeks or so.  Then it will be all hands to photography as we still have around fifty thousand images of the coins to take for their computer database.  The hands on work that the public enjoy watching will not stop however as the completion of the initial cleaning around Easter will give us the chance to return to the coins that could do with more work.  As we were unsure just how long the work would take at the begining of the project we decided to give the coins only a basic clean sufficient to allow us to identify them.  This has left many of them mottled and still with some corrosion however and now we have have the chance to return to those and give them a bit more love.