The Yorkshire Museum Acquires the Wold Newton Hoard Thanks to Donations of More Than £44,000

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The Yorkshire Museum Acquires the Wold Newton Hoard Thanks to Donations of More Than £44,000

10 November 2016

Generous donations of more than £44,000 have been given to the Yorkshire Museum to buy the largest Roman hoard of its type ever discovered in the north of England.

Hundreds of people from around the world have generously donated to the appeal which was launched on July 25 this year to save the Wold Newton Hoard. It means the Hoard of more than 1,800 Roman coins will stay in public collections in Yorkshire.

The funding includes a grant of £10,000 from the Arts Council England/Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund and a donation of £9,981 from the American Friends of the Art Fund.

Individual donations by Richard Beleson, in honour of Roger Bland, and Dr Marjorie Gardner and the Late Professor Michael LG Gardner also made generous contributions to make the purchase possible.

The hoard was discovered by a metal detectorist near the village of Wold Newton, East Yorkshire, in 2014.

Andrew Woods, curator of numismatics at the Yorkshire Museum, said:

“We are thrilled that so many people have given so generously to allow us to buy this hugely significant find. We would like to thank every single person who gave to this appeal and has helped make sure this wonderful collection of coins will stay in Yorkshire and in public collections.

“The hoard is a once in a lifetime find and was buried at a turbulent point in Yorkshire’s history. We hope we will now be able to carry out research on the hoard which may reveal more about what was happening in the county at that time and why it was buried where it was.

A large portion of the hoard, as well as the ceramic vessel it was found in, will remain on public display at the Yorkshire Museum until January 11 2017.

The hoard will then be taken for conservation, with the full hoard being revealed at next summer’s Eboracum Roman Festival on June 1-4 2017.

The Hoard

The hoard dates to 307AD, a period of great uncertainty in the Roman Empire and Yorkshire. It features coins depicting Constantius and also the first coins to proclaim his son, Constantine, Augustus after he was made emperor in York.

It contains 1,858 Roman copper coins in a ceramic vessel. The coins, known as nummi, are around 3cm in size and represent the typical currency of the fourth century. It features coins depicting a number of Roman emperors including Constantius and Constantine.

At the time of burial the hoard was worth the equivalent of a legionary’s annual salary, three year’s salary for a carpenter or six years for a farm labourer. It could buy 700 chickens, 2,000 of the finest fish or 11,000 pints of beer.
It is the largest hoard found from the period in the north of England and the second largest ever found in the country; the largest, the Fyfield Hoard was found in 1944 and is now at the Ashmoleon in Oxford.

Discovery

The hoard was found by detectorist David Blakey in 2014. He filmed its discovery and immediately reported it to the Portable Antiquities Scheme rather than emptying it out which has allowed archaeologists the rare opportunity to excavate it in different layers to see how coins were added to the vessel. Insect remains attached to some of the coins also offer another way of analysing the contents. All this means there is huge potential for getting a greater understanding of the period and why it was buried.

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