A Search for a Lost Hammer Led to the Largest Cache of Roman Treasure Ever Found in Britain

Discussion in 'Ancient History and Archaeology' started by Seahunter, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. Seahunter

    Seahunter
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    Today, archaeologists are still debating just how old the hoard is—and what it tells us about the end of the Roman Empire in Britain

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    The gold and silver coins in the Hoxne hoard, found in Suffolk, date to the end of the Roman Empire in Britain at the start of the 5th century A.D.(British Museum)
    When Eric Lawes set off for a field in Hoxne village, Suffolk on November 16, 1992, it wasn’t on a treasure hunt. The metal detector he’d received as a retirement gift was meant to find a hammer lost on the farmland. But the detector picked up a strong signal in the earth, leading Lawes to start digging, and it quickly became apparent that he had indeed found treasure.

    After bringing up only a few shovelfuls of silver spoons and gold coins, Lawes quickly retreated and called the police and the local archaeological society. The very next day, as covertly as possible, the archaeologists excavated a chunk of earth with the treasure still contained within. This way, they could remove the objects under laboratory conditions, which would help determine the age and storage method of the cache. By the time everything had been removed from the dirt, the archaeologists had nearly 60 pounds of gold and silver objects, including 15,234 Roman coins, dozens of silver spoons and 200 gold objects.

    Lawes received £1.75 million from the British government for finding the gold and leaving it intact, which he split with the farmer on whose land the hoard was uncovered (he also eventually found the hammer, which later went on exhibit). As for archaeologists, they had their own reward: of the 40 treasure hoards discovered in Britain, the Hoxne Hoard was “the largest and latest ever found in Britain,” says Rachel Wilkinson. The project curator for Romano-British collections at the British Museum, where the artifacts reside, Wilkinson says the unique way this hoard was excavated, compared to how most are retrieved by farmers plowing their field, makes it invaluable.

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    A series of gold bracelets, one with an inscription to Juliane, all found in the Hoxne Hoard in 1992. (British Museum)

    Read more: A Search for a Lost Hammer Led to the Largest Cache of Roman Treasure Ever Found in Britain | History | Smithsonian
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  2. Lynne

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    Wow. That’s a find. The government should have paid him much more.
     
  3. Lynne

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    This was a very interesting read. Thanks Sea.
     
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  4. Seahunter

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    That is a highly debatable topic, but I agree. Some think people should just turn over the finds, but if that is the case, less people will come forward. Considering these coins and other artifacts are worth so much, the finder's fee should have been more, I agree.
     
    #4 Seahunter, Jan 11, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
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  5. 7Christie

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    Cool find. How exciting it must have been.
     
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  6. Lynne

    Lynne
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    Yes. I wonder if the finder could have just melted it down. Would he have faired better? Maybe not. I guess I’d take my million and be happy :)
     
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  7. Paintman

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    Take the reward and say thank you. He was looking for a lost hammer, jeeze louise.:)
     
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