Welcome back to my blog of the conservation work on the hoard. Sorry it's been so long since the last post but we are now up and running again. We've had to wait almost two years for funding and permission issues to be resolved but the project is now properly underway. We have moved the hoard to a glass walled lab in the centre of a new exhibition Treasure, Uncovering Celts and Romans in Jersey Museum. Not only can the public see the hoard itself being worked on here but it is surrounded by some amazing finds borrowed from various places in France and the other Channel Islands which give a really vivid impression of what was going on at the time the hoard was buried.
The work on the hoard is planned to last three years. We've advertised for two assistants to work with me and we will appoint them early next month. We are also waiting for our laser scanner/metrology arm which will allow to record each coin's position to a twentieth of a millimeter before they are removed for cleaning. It's arrival date is less certain as it has apparently vanished somewhere between Germany and here.
Until my colleagues are appointed I am lucky enough to be able to call on volunteers for help. Both Reg and Richard, the hoard's finders come in when they can and we also have Georgia, a local archaeology graduate. Together, we have removed all the loose coins from the hoard's surface and cleaned several hundred of them. Even doing this initial work we are making discoveries. On day one we found a beautiful blue glass bead next to what appears to be a piece of silver wire. I had a chance to discuss the bead with Dr Sonia O'Connor from Bradford University yesterday and show her some metal deposits on the bead's inner surface. She suggested that the "hole" was too big for it to be a necklace piece and that it was probably an ornamental part from a larger object.
Shortly after the bead's appearance, I was cleaning a batch of coins and noticed that one was very different to the others. I'm no coin expert but I'm fairly familiar with the coriosolite coins that are all we've found so far. This new one looked very different and was much thinner. I showed it to Dr Philip De Jersey, Guernsey's archaeology curator and a celtic coin expert and he immediately identified it as belonging to a tribe from the south of England and dating to about 40BC. This is important for two reasons. Firstly it shows cross-channel trade for the first time and secondly because it takes the time of the hoard's burial out of the actual inavision of Gaul in 52BC or thereabouts to a decade or more later, during the roman occupation.
Well, that's about all our news for now but I'm sure we'll find out more soon so keep having a look for more soon...