Brothers-in-law find ancient coin hoard ‘of national significance’

Riseholme Hoard of Celtic coins found in England in February, just revealed
By , Coin World London Correspondent
Published : 09/29/17
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In February 2017, two brothers-in-law discovered gold and silver buried treasure in a field north of Lincoln, the county city of Lincolnshire, England.

The area was initially an Iron Age settlement comprising wooden dwellings and known by the Celts as Lindon.

Following the Roman conquest of Britain in A.D. 48, the invaders built a legionary fortress here that was at the northern end of the Fosse Way, the Roman road that stretched 182 miles from Ilchester in the southwest to what the conquerors Latinized to Lindum.


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When the legion initially based here transferred to York in A.D. 71, the fortress became a home for army veterans. It was renamed Lindum Colonia, which after the Viking raid beginning at the end of the eighth century was shortened to Lincoln.

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Today it has a Norman castle and a magnificent cathedral that had its foundations laid in the late 11th century. From 1311 to 1549, before its 525-foot tower collapsed, Lincoln Cathedral was the tallest building in Europe. Lincoln is 141 miles (227 kilometers) north of London.

Good area for seekers

The finders were the treasure hunting team of Sean Scargill and Hugh Jenkins. They have been detecting in and around Lincolnshire for four years. Sean told me that they are very fortunate to have permissions on land within Lincolnshire known for yielding Roman material and have had good “Roman” find success as a result.

Sean continued with an account of the day that they found the late Iron Age hoard. “We were detecting on a long-standing permission of ours,” he told Coin World. “It is in an area that we have previously searched many times over the last three to four years. The site is vast and it is believed to have periodic occupation from the late Iron Age through to today. This has been reflected in the many Roman and medieval artefacts that we have discovered there.”

He continued: “About a couple of hours into what was turning out to be a very sunny February day, Hugh suggested we move to an area of pasture that we had not detected for a while. This was a short walk from where we were, out into the sunshine, rather than the shade of the wood. This was a very easy decision as the midday sunshine had started to do its work warming an otherwise chilly morning. Initially the move to this area resulted in Hugh finding a Roman brooch, a few modern coins and a whole lot of lead for me. This was starting to get more than a little frustrating. We often find lead spindle whorls ... and pot mends in this area, but today was quickly turning into a ‘random fragments of lead’ day for me. With this in mind, I remarked that I was going to try an area at the other end of the field, about 200 yards from our current location and that I would detect on the way there.’

A few steps away

One could detect the excitement mount in Sean’s voice as he continued. “Having taken no more than a few steps in that direction, I got a deep, faint but very interesting signal. Although it was faint, it was in good range and was also jumping around a bit. I was confident that the target was probably quite deep so I initially made an opening spade hole of about seven to eight inches. After sweeping the removed turf with the detector, to rule it out, I then swept the hole again, where I got a much stronger and more stable signal. I then inserted the detector’s pinpointer to the bottom of the hole and all round the sides, to try to gain a precise location of the target. It revealed absolutely nothing. Experience told me that I needed to dig deeper, as I have found that very wet ground helps with the depths that my detector is able to reach.’”

“On digging down another three to four inches or so, I hit upon a reasonable sized flat stone and the pin pointer was now picking up a signal beneath it. At this depth, the soil was becoming a fine sandy fill, which made freeing the stone relatively straight-forward. On lifting and turning the stone over, I noticed a small coin attached to its underside and at the same time I noticed what looked like a few others sat at the bottom of the hole. On initial examination of the loose coin, although covered in damp sandy soil, I could see it was small and silver and had what looked like a horse on one side and a wreath on the other. As I could see about another five coins in the damp, sandy soil at the bottom of the hole, the excitement was building about potentially uncovering a small coin spill. At that point, there was absolutely no way of knowing that there were many gold and silver coins within the next two to three inches of soil.”

Find totals 282 coins

The final count of the excavated coins was 282, comprising 40 gold staters, 231 silver units and 11 half-units, all of which are North-Eastern types attributed to the Corieltavi tribe.

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