17 February 2013

The Beau Street hoard

I've just discovered The British Museum blog, putting myself at risk of not getting any real work done for a month.
In November 2007, during a routine archaeological excavation in advance of building work in Beau Street, Bath (a stone’s throw from the famous Roman Baths themselves), archaeologists came upon what was clearly a very large number of coins contained within a cist (a stone-lined box). Upon further excavation, they quickly came to realise they were looking at one of the largest coin hoards found in the UK, representing quite a tumultuous time in Roman Britain – about AD 270.  In order to preserve its shape and context, the archaeologists cut around the hoard and lifted it in a soil block.
The initial report was posted in May of 2012.   Last week there was a followup, with some post-conservation photos and data.
We have been able to sort and count seven of the eight Roman money bags contained within the hoard – one is still undergoing conservation. The total so far is 14,646 coins, but as the final bag is large we expect this to go up to over 16,000 coins...


  1. That picture is more interesting than any number of Roman coins I've seen. Very cool!

    1. And just think about the circumstances under which it happened. The fog of war, a furtive digging at night, death and destruction, a bit of disturbed earth that nobody notices...

    2. From one of their explanatory articles, it seems like these were more likely stored in a place that was specifically designed to hide these coins.

      "Was this a secure store for bags of money that was added to gradually by one or more people over a fairly long period of time? It seems like an official store of money, organised into bags and purposely concealed in a place designed for that purpose."


      This is a really interesting pile of coins as it falls in a perfect time period to show the debasement of the Roman Empire's monetary supply. Thanks for the link!

  2. Blast - I was there just yesterday and didn't know to look for this exhibit.


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