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23rd August 2017, 2:28pm
Hoard of late Iron Age coins found in Lincolnshire
Pictured are late Iron Age gold staters. Copyright Lincolnshire County Council. A hoard of gold and silver coins dating to the dawn of the Roman conquest has been unearthed by metal detectorists in a field near Riseholme on land owned by the University of Lincoln.

The hoard, which contains 282 coins, was discovered with fragments of a pot and includes rare examples stamped with the names of local rulers living in the area in the years leading up to the Roman invasion of Britain in AD43.

The discovery was made near to the Roman Road of Ermine Street just a few miles from the important Roman fort and city of Lincoln. Experts say that the hoard could help people understand the past relationship between the local Iron Age tribes in the region and the invading Roman army.

Archaeologists from the University of Lincoln have carried out a geophysical survey of the area which will help answer some of the questions about why it was buried. Further fieldwork is planned to explore the area around the site, which is now being protected and monitored by the University.

Professor Carenza Lewis, from the University of Lincoln, advised on the reporting and investigation of the discovery. “It’s a find of national significance because it dates to the period of the Roman Conquest which transformed our country’s history,” said Professor Lewis, who is an archaeologist and the Professor for the Public Understanding of Research at the University.

“There are lots of early Roman forts in Lincolnshire, which suggests that the Iron Age tribes were initially hostile, but they weren’t garrisoned for long. For some, being part of the Roman Empire may have brought about huge benefits, such as access to trade networks, luxury goods and new technology. We know from classical historians that some Iron Age leaders remained in power after the conquest, and were even supported by the Romans as long as they ensured taxes were paid.

“Finding this valuable late Iron Age hoard which was placed so close to Roman Lincoln, Ermine Street and other important early Roman sites will help us understand the impact of the Roman takeover on local people and their rulers.”

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, anyone uncovering gold and silver objects, and groups of coins from the same finds which are more than 300 years old, have a legal obligation to report such items to the Coroner under the Treasure Act 1996. An treasure inquest into the coins has taken place today.

The coins were processed by Lincolnshire County Council’s Lincolnshire Finds Liaison Officer, Dr Adam Daubney. The council is a partner in the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), which exists to identify and record archaeological objects discovered by members of the public.

Dr Daubney said they offer a fascinating glimpse into a period of history when huge political changes were occurring. “Many of the coins in the hoard are stamped with names of people that we believe were local rulers – names such as Dumnocoveros, Tigirseno, and Volisios. These are some of the earliest personal names ever recorded from the region,” he said.

”We don't fully understand why the coins were placed into the ground, although this was certainly done deliberately. It could be that they were buried for safekeeping owing to the turbulent times they were living in by an owner who never returned, or it could be that the coins were buried for religious or ritualistic reasons – perhaps as a way of making oaths or petitioning the gods, or perhaps as a sacrificial offering giving thanks.”

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