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    News 10 million hoard of Roman coins found buried in field in Jersey

    It's not just Jimmy Carr: 10 million hoard of Roman coins found buried in field in Jersey after 30-year metal detector quest


    • Hoard of coins buried to protect them from Julius Caesar
    • Three-quarter ton hoard estimated to be worth 10 million
    • Two enthusiasts searched for three decades in field in Jersey


    Two metal detector enthusiasts have uncovered Europe's largest hoard of Iron Age coins worth up to 10 million - after searching for more than 30 years.

    Determined Reg Mead and Richard Miles spent decades searching a field in Jersey after hearing rumours that a farmer had discovered silver coins while working on his land.
    They eventually struck gold and uncovered between 30,000 and 50,000 coins, which date from the 1st Century BC and have lain buried for 2,000 years.






    Neil Mahrer from Jersey Heritage examines part of Europe's largest hoard of Iron Age coins which have been unearthed in Jersey and could be worth up to 10m







    A coin in the hand: Archaeologists believe the hoard, found by two metal detectors, is worth about 10million



    The Roman and Celtic silver and gold coins were entombed under a hedge in a large mound of clay, weighing three quarters of a ton and measuring 140 x 80 x 20cm.
    Experts predict they are of Armorican origin - modern day Brittany and Normandy - from a tribe called the Coriosolitae who were based in the modern-day area of St Malo and Dinan.
    They have dated the coins from 50BC, the Late Iron Age, and believe they would have been buried underground to be kept safe from Julius Caesar's campaigns.


    This is because the armies of Caesar were advancing north-westwards to France at the time, driving tribal communities towards the coasts.
    Some would have fled across the sea to Jersey, finding a place of refuge away from Caesar's troops. The only safe way to store their wealth was to bury it in a secret place.
    Dr Philip de Jersey, a former Celtic coin expert at Oxford University, said each individual coin in the ‘extremely exciting’ find was worth between 100 and 200.






    Getting the hoard out: Metal detector Reg Mead (centre, back, blue polo shirt) watches as archaeologists unearth the Celtic coin hoard




    They have dated the coins from 50BC, the Late Iron Age, and believe they would have been buried underground to be kept safe from Julius Caesar's campaigns (pictured)






    Determined Reg Mead and Richard Miles spent decades searching a field in Jersey after hearing rumours that a farmer had discovered silver coins while working on his land




    The Roman and Celtic silver and gold coins were entombed under a hedge in a large mound of clay, weighing three quarters of a ton and measuring 140 x 80 x 20cm



    He said: ‘It is extremely exciting and very significant. It will add a huge amount of new information, not just about the coins themselves but the people who were using them.
    ‘Most archaeologist with an interest in coins spend their lives in libraries writing about coins and looking at pictures of coins.
    ‘For me as an archaeologist, with an interest in coins, to actually go out and excavate one in a field, most of us never get that opportunity. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.’
    Richard Miles and Reg Mead first stumbled across a find of 60 silver and one gold coin - believed to be part of the same haul - back in February this year.
    The pair claimed they were going to continue to dig around the undisclosed field in Jersey for more - before striking gold with thousands more.
    Reg Mead said: ‘Richard my colleague found the first one and it was amazing - when you see him raising his hand above his head (saying) ‘got one’.
    ‘After that even every one gave you the same buzz - after 61 coins and many, many pieces of rubbish in amongst them.
    ‘We are talking about searching for 40 to 50 hours to get these coins out and every one gives you a buzz.’






    The Roman and Celtic silver and gold coins were entombed under a hedge in a large mound of clay, weighing three quarters of a ton and measuring 140 x 80 x 20cm



    Reg and Richard enlisted experts from Jersey Heritage, Dr Philip de Jersey, Curator of Archaeology Olga Finch, Conservator Neil Mahrer and Robert Waterhouse from the Societe Jersiaise to excavate the site.
    The team slowly unearthed thousands more coins, which were covered in clay. The clay mound has now been taken to a secret safe location to be studied.
    Environment Minister, Deputy Rob Duhamel, said he would do everything he could to protect the historic site.
    He said: ‘Sites like these do need protection because there is speculation there might even be more.
    ‘It is a very exciting piece of news and perhaps harks back to our cultural heritage in terms of finance, we are a finance centre.
    ‘It was found under a hedge so perhaps this is an early example of hedge fund trading.’
    He added that the owners of the site had indicated that they would like to see the whole hoard on display at the Jersey Museum or the archive.
    Olga Finch, curator of Archaeology at Jersey Museum, said: ‘This is an incredibly important archaeological find of international significance.
    ‘The fact that it has been excavated archaeologically is also rare and will greatly enhance the level of information we can glean about the people who buried it.
    ‘It is an amazing contribution to the study of Celtic coins, we already have a number of very important Iron Age coin hoards found in the Island, but this new addition will make Jersey a magnet for Celtic coin researchers.
    ‘It reinforces just how special Jersey's archaeology is.’

    Several hoards of Celtic coins have been found in Jersey before but the largest was in 1935 at La Marquanderie when more than 11,000 were discovered.
    The States of Jersey are working to clarify exactly who owns the coins.

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