The Bredon Hill Roman Coin
On 18 June, 2011, metal detectorists uncovered
an assemblage of 3,874 Roman coins on farmland below Bredon
Hill. This is the largest hoard ever discovered in
Initial research from Worcestershire Historic
Environment and Archaeology Service and the British Museum indicate
that the hoard was buried in the remains of a demolished Roman
settlement on the site, nearly a century after it was
accumulated. This is the only British site where this has
been seen and represents important new research into the
| Save the Bredon Hill Roman Coin Hoard for
The clock is now ticking to raise the funds to
acquire the hoard under the Treasure laws. The aim is for it
to become part of Worcestershire county museum collection where it
can be conserved and then exhibited at venues across the
To be part of the campaign to save the
hoard, go to our "Save the Bredon
The initial exhibition of the hoard at
Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum (Oct & Nov 2011) was
· 3,405 visitors to the
· 140 positive written comments
about saving the hoard for Worcestershire
· Just over £1,500 donated
towards acquiring the hoard for the museum collection
These are great figures for a museum the size
of Worcester's and far exceeded expectations for the
exhibition. It's a brilliant start to raising the funding to
keep the hoard in Worcestershire (and pressure of course, with this
many local people relying on us, we have to succeed!).
A sample of the comments:
fascinating – haven't visited a museum for 25 years but this
exhibition made me come.
· I couldn't
believe my eyes I was gobsmacked looking at the coins.
exhibition – more here than I anticipated – thank you. Been
looking forward to seeing it!
· This is a
very special find, raising fresh questions about this period.
· Good to see
metal detectorists and archaeologists working constructively
together to unearth more than just a pot of coins.
· A big one for
Worcestershire – let's keep it here.
The hoard has been declared treasure by the
coroner and is in the care of the British Museum.
The British Museum have compiled catalogue
information about all the coins and have undertaken conservation
work on the most rare items.
The Treasure Valuation Committee has set the
value of the hoard and the museum has four months to raise this
value to reward the finders and landowner.
The museum is approaching grant funders to
help fund the acquisition.
Even if these are successful, we will need to
raise more money locally to match this funding – probably several
thousand pounds in addition to that already raised. We hope
that the Friends of Museums Worcestershire will be a support and
help in achieving this.
In addition, the hoard will require additional
funds for conservation, interpretation and display.
The history of the Bredon Hill Hoard
The two metal finders had agreed with the land
owner that they could work through a field on the slopes of Bredon
Hill. They revealed something very special – a major hoard of Roman
coins. In total 3,874 Roman coins and thus the largest coin hoard,
of any period, ever found in Worcestershire.
After consultation with the land owner, the
find was notified to the local Portable Antiquities Scheme Finds
Liaison Officer who works closely with Museums Worcestershire. The
county's archaeology service took over the excavation and it became
evident that not only had a hoard been found but also a settlement
site with a long and intriguing history.
Research just completed at the British Museum
discovered the coins in the Bredon Hill hoard date from 244 to 282
AD. Its position in the layers of archaeology suggests the
hoard pot was buried in the mid-fourth century; it seems that the
hoard was hidden about 70 years after someone accumulated
^ Illustration from
depicting information discovered during the excavation in July
This is extremely unusual and makes the Bredon
Hill hoard particularly interesting. The excavation of the
Hive site in Worcester uncovered a substantial
building abandoned at this date: we know that it was a time of
great change in Roman Worcestershire. More research about the
Bredon Hill Roman Coin Hoard can be found on our collections
The hoard is
currently going through a process laid down in the Treasure
Act. The county coroner will hold an inquest, examine the
information about the coins prepared by the British Museum, and
officially decide whether to declare the find as Treasure.
If the hoard is declared as treasure its value will be
decided by the British Musum Treasure Valuation
We do not yet know what the value will be
however it will not be low. Museums Worcestershire will then
have a short period of time to raise that value to acquire the
hoard for the Worcestershire museum collection. If the money
can be raised, the hoard will be exhibited in the county and used
as part of research and events, enabling as many people as possible
to enjoy and learn from this important addition to Worcestershire’s
long and fascinating history.
There are many people who have worked incredibly hard to share
the Bredon Hill Roman Coin Hoard with the people of
- The landowner and finders of the hoard.
- The Portable Antiquities
Scheme and their Finds Liaison Officer for
Worcestershire and Warwickshire, Richard Henry.
Historic Environment and Archaeology Service who
undertook the survey and excavation of the find site and have
generously shared their expertise.
- The specialist curators and conservators at
the British Museum
who have prepared and researched the find.
- Mr Geraint Williams, Her Majesty's Coroner
for Worcestershire, who has allowed this exhibition so
early in the legal process.
- The staff at Museums Worcestershire, Worcestershire County
Council and the Friends of Museums Worcestershire who will be
fighting to save the Bredon Hill Roman Coin Hoard for
Official Press Release, Friday 21/10/11:
Major archaeological discovery in
detecting enthusiasts have uncovered Worcestershire's largest ever
archaeological hoard and people are being offered the exciting
chance to grab a glimpse.
Thousands of Roman coins, unearthed at Bredon
Hill near Evesham, represent the biggest hoard ever uncovered in
the county. A selection will be showcased at Worcester City Art
Gallery and Museum from tomorrow (Saturday, October 22).
The hoard was discovered earlier in summer
this year by amateur enthusiasts Jethro Carpenter and Mark
Gilmour who were enjoying a walk on Bredon Hill, near
Evesham with their metal detectors.
In a scenario that is every metal-detectors
dream within minutes of putting the devices to the ground, the
screens registered 'overload' and it was clear the pair had
happened upon a large find.
For two hours the duo excavated the area by
hand, unearthing coin after coin before appreciating the magnitude
of their discovery and the relevant authorities, the Portable
Antiquities Scheme, the Coroner for Worcestershire and landowner
were alerted to the find.
Since the exciting discovery, which took place
in June, experts from Worcestershire County Council Historic
Environment and Archaeology Service (WHEAS) have undertaken an
assessment of the site and uncovered evidence of a Roman
Additional research undertaken with the
British Museum indicates the hoard was buried nearly a century
after it was accumulated – the only known such British example –
meaning the Worcestershire hoard is of national significance.
Jethro Carpenter said: "As a
child you watch pirate films and dream of finding buried treasure
being uncovered in chests but the truth is that as a metal detector
enthusiast you can hunt for months on end and find nothing so much
as a dropped penny. I've known the Bredon Hill area for more than
twenty years and taken my detector there countless times so never
in a million years did I expect to come across a such a find. On
the day of the discovery, my detector was down for no more than
five minutes when it started to make a high-pitched noise,
indicating a lot of buried metal below foot. Even more excitingly,
the screen flashed up 'overload'. Mark and I started digging and
uncovered coin after coin. It was so exciting, my heart was racing
as they just kept on appearing and I could see the head of an
emperor visible indicating they were Roman. This find offers a
window into a completely different world and it makes you wonder
'who buried these coins and why?' It's amazing that the Museums
Service, archaeology experts and MDs (metal
detectorists) can work together to try and help us piece
together this jigsaw.
Jethro, aged 43, added: "This find is of major
significance not only for Worcestershire but also nationally and I
am so proud to have been involved with this important
Richard Henry, Finds Liaison
Officer for Worcestershire and Warwickshire: "This
discovery of this coin hoard is really exciting news for
Worcestershire and of major significance not only for the county
but also the country.
"The 3784 coins span 38 years and are a
fascinating little piece of history dating from a turbulent time
during which the Roman Empire saw revolts, rebellions, plague and
"This project is a fantastic example of the
ways different professional groups and the finders can work
together to help preserve our nation's heritage.
"We really hope people will take the time to
come and visit our exhibition where they will get a chance to see
some of the coins and have the opportunity to find out more about
the treasure process, from discovery to identification."
The majority of the stash which numbers
approximately 3,700 coins depicting a total of 16 different Roman
Emperors is currently with the British Museum for conservation and
This information, when complete, will enable
the Coroner, Geraint Williams, to decide whether the hoard should
be declared as treasure. If this is the case, a market valuation
will be set by the British Museum and Worcestershire County Museum
will have four months to raise the funding if they decide to
acquire the find for long-term exhibition in the county.