The Patching Hoard
The following is a copy of the News Release put out by Dr. Sally
White, Curator of Worthing Museum, during the press conference
following the Jury's verdict. The British Museum intends to assign
the find to Worthing Museum once a full valuation has taken place,
probably in September.
"Treasure Trove was the verdict brought in by the jury at an
inquest in Chichester today. The 'treasure' in question is a hoard
of Roman gold and silver found near Worthing during April and May
this year. Described by experts at the British Museum as the latest
hoard of Roman coins ever found in this country, the find consists
of 22 gold solidi, 25 silver coins or fragments of silver coins, 2
heavy gold rings and 50 small pieces of silver bullion dating to AD
The hoard was discovered by two local men who were searching the
field using their metal detectors. When they found the first coins
in April they reported them to the Coroner's Officer in Worthing.
He showed them to Dr. Sally White at the Worthing Museum who was
able to identify them.
When more coins were discovered in May, Sally White contacted John
Manley and Richard Jones of the Sussex Archaeological Society who
agreed to undertake a small, emergency excavation. Their aim was to
see if traces of a pit or any buildings could be found on the site.
The excavation was carried out by a small team of archaeologists
working with the finders. The excavation did not reveal any
structural features on the site and it is possible that the hoard
had been disturbed once before, when a land-drain was laid at least
100 years ago.
The discovery of this hoard and the subsequent excavation show how
successful collaberation between museums, metal detectorists,
archaeologists and landowners can be.
The hoard must have represented a very large sum of money in the
fifth century. Gold and silver were very valuable at that time and,
since coins were not in circulation in the mid-fifth century those
in this hoard must have been collected for the value of their
metal. We are never likely to know the answers to the intriguing
questions of who the original owner was or why they were buried.
Now that the hoard has been declared Treasure Trove it will be
taken back to the British Museum for valuation by the Treasure
Valuation Committee. In spite of its huge importance, the British
Museum has indicated that it is likely to waive its right to claim
the hoard in favour of Worthing Museum. Staff at the Museum are
delighted that they will have a chance to raise the money for the
reward, once it has been set, and keep the hoard in Worthing where
it can be displayed for everyone to enjoy."
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