SHINING as brightly as the day they were made, these 2,000-year-old gold coins found in a field in Peatling Magna are the latest Iron Age treasure to go on display at Harborough Museum.
The ten coins, made in Northern France, between 60-50 BC, were unveiled on Tuesday.
Depicting horses surrounded by mysterious symbols, they are evidence of early cross-channel trade.
Named the Peatling Magna Hoard, they have gone on display alongside items from the Hallaton Treasure - a hoard of 5,000 Iron Age and Roman coins as well as a Roman cavalry helmet found in a field near the village.
Helen Sharp, project officer for the Southeast. Leicestershire Treasure Project, told the Mail: “We already have one fantastic treasure, so to have another one so soon after is the icing on the cake.
“The Peatling Magna Hoard is about 100 or so years older than the other coins found at Hallaton, so its taking the Iron Age story of Leicestershire back even futher into the past.
“Its wonderful to have some beautiful, shining coins, still as good as the day they were made, even though they are 2,060 years old.”
Steve Bestwick, of the Leicester Search Society, found the coins in October 2010.
He said: “I was on my way back to the car to get a coffee, detecting as I went, when I got a signal. I thought ‘I bet it’s a bottle top’. But it wasn’t, it was a gold coin. The first of a few.”
Mr Bestwick informed Wendy Scott, finds liaison officer for Leicestershire County Council, of his discovery and they were idntified with help from Iron Age coin expert Professor Colin Haselgrove, of the University of Leicester.
After being officially declared treasure by the Coroner’s Office, they were bought for display at harborough Museum,
Mr Bestwick said: “You worry you find something so lovely but it ends up in a drawer somewhere, so for these to be on display is lovely.
“I have a view of British History as a jigsaw puzzle, and everything we record fills in another little piece, of the puzzle. These are not that significant, but they help fill in a little piece of British history. So it’s great. I love to be involved.”
THE UNVEILING of the coins at Harborough Museum was one of a number of events being held across Leicestershire to mark the two-week Festival of Archaeology.
4Harborough Museum, in Fox Yard, is running Archaeology Antics activities during the fortnight, giving children the chance to dig for finds in a sandpit, then examine them through a microscope.
It runs from 11am to 4pm at the museum each day it is open, which is Tuesdays to Saturdays, until the end of the festival on Saturday, July 28.
4A free talk about the Hallaton Treasure by the archaeologists who found and excavated it is taking place at Harborough Museum on Wednesday (July 25) from 6pm to 7.30pm.
Suitable for adults and children aged over 12, pre-booking is essential on 01858 821085, as numbers are limited.
4 Hallaton Museum, in Churchgate, is hosting the Rituals, Hoards, Helmets and More exhibition telling of the discovery of the Hallaton Treasure as well as the history of the famous annual Bottle Kicking event.
It is on from 2.30pm-5pm this Saturday and Sunday as well as the following Saturday and Sunday. Entry is free.
Guided walks of the village (from 1.30pm to 2.30pm) and the earthworks of its Norman motte and bailey castle (3-4.30pm) will also be held, at £2 per person.
4 Explore recipes and cooking and pottery from Roman, Anglo Saxon and Danish periods with Great Bowden Heritage and Archaeology’s Best before 1066 event this Sunday from 1 to 4.30pm.
The event, in the village hall, on The Green, will offer a chance to sample typical food and people can bring along their own pottery finds for identification. Children can dig for finds in a sand pit and wear Roman, Anglo Saxon or Viking dress for a chance to win a prize.
4In Kibworth there will be guided walks based on the Michael Wood’s ‘Story of England’ TV programme this Saturday and Sunday, and the following Saturday and Sunday, at 10.30am each day.
It costs £10 per person including lunch at the Coach and Horses pub and pre-booking is essential on 0116 2792247.
4 A presentation on John Wycliffe and a tour of Lutterworth’s St Mary’s Church will be held tonight and Tuesday (July 24) from 2-4pm. To book a place, which costs £3, phone 01455 556616 or 01455 558797.
4 A guided walk around Mowsley village takes place this Sunday from 3-5pm. A £2 donation is requested and no booking is required. For more information contact John Lacey on 0116 2402386 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
4 Explore Stonton Wyville with archaeologist Peter Liddle, including a look around the church, manor house and a Tudor garden, from 2-4pm on Saturday. Adults cost £3, children free.
For a full list of events happening around the county, visit www.leics.gov.uk/archaeologyfestival.