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The Patching Hoard
News Release

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 380-461.

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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