Museum to display ancient gold coins
THE CONTINENTAL booze run may be a relatively modern notion, but a discovery made in a field in Harborough district is shedding new light on the history of cross-Channel trade.
The discovery in a field near Peatling Magna of ten gold coins made in modern day northern France or the Low Countries more than 2,000 years ago suggests the county’s Iron Age inhabitants were in contact with their continental counterparts long before the invention of the car ferry.
The coins, which are to go on permanent display at Harborough Museum from Tuesday, were unearthed by Steve Bestwick of the Leicester Search Society metal detecting club.
Watch Steve talk about his discovery in the video above.
Mr Bestwick said: “When you find the first one you don’t quite believe it’s gold.
“When you find a few you realise there could be lots, then you focus, listen carefully to your machine; as this could be the dream find – an ancient hoard.
“These coins bring up so many questions. Why did they come to Leicestershire? What sort of journey have they been on?
“How did they get here from the continent, so long ago before cross–Channel ferries? Who was the last person to hold them and what did they mean to them?”
Depicting horses surrounded by mysterious symbols, the coins were made between 60 and 50 BC and, historians say, suggest the Iron Age Corieltavi tribe were in contact with continental Europe.
It is the latest important find in the district in recent years, following the discovery in Hallaton in 2000 of more than 5,000 Iron Age and Roman coins and a Roman helmet, known as the Hallaton Treasure and which is also on display in the museum.
Wendy Scott, finds liaison officer at Leicestershire County Council, said of the new find: “The coins are significant, as you don’t normally find imported coins this far north.
“Along with the Hallaton Treasure they hint at the importance of Leicestershire in the Iron Age.”
The coins, which were acquired by the county council with help from the V&A Purchase Grant Fund, Market Harborough Historical Society, the Friends of Leicester and Leicestershire Museums and Leicestershire Fieldworkers, will now sit alongside the famous Hallaton Treasure on permanent display at the museum, in Fox Yard.
The launch from 11am on Tuesday will feature a special free Celtic Coin Day event at which visitors can make their own Iron Age coins to take home.
It coincides with Leicestershire’s two-week archaeology festival, which starts on Saturday.
For more information visit www.leics.gov.uk/archaeologyfestival.
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Weather for Market Harborough
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 12 C to 23 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 12 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North east