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The Bredon Hill Roman Coin Hoard 








The Bredon Hill Roman Coin HoardBredon Hill Roman Coin Hoard


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 Worcestershire.

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 period.

 Save the Bredon Hill Roman Coin Hoard for Worcestershire!

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 county.


To be part of the campaign to save the hoard, go to our "Save the Bredon Hoard" page.




The initial exhibition of the hoard at Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum (Oct & Nov 2011) was incredibly popular:

·  3,405 visitors to the exhibition

·  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:

·  Absolutely 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.

·  Superb 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 Treasure process

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 (released 2011)

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 it. 

hoard location

^ Illustration from WHEAS depicting information discovered during the excavation in July 2011

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 blog.

Bredon Hill Roman Coin HoardThe 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 Committee.

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 Worcestershire:

  • Roman CoinsThe landowner and finders of the hoard.
  • The Portable Antiquities Scheme and their Finds Liaison Officer for Worcestershire and Warwickshire, Richard Henry.
  • Worcestershire 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 Worcestershire.


Official Press Release, Friday 21/10/11:  Major archaeological discovery in Worcestershire.

Bredon Hill CoinsMetal 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 settlement.

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 discovery."Collected Roman Coin Hoard

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 invasions.

"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 research.

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.

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This page was last reviewed 6 August 2012 at 8:24 by David Nash.
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