UK & World News

  • 7 July 2014, 5:18

Roman Coin Hoard Found In Peak District Cave

A collection of Roman and Late Iron Age coins has been discovered in a cave in the Peak District - the first time coins from the two separate civilisations have been found together.

The precious hoard was initially unearthed by a member of the public, who stumbled across a few of the coins in Reynard's Cave in Dovedale, sparking a full-scale excavation of the site.

The setting itself adds to the mystery surrounding the discovery, as while Roman coins have often been found in fields, this is understood to be the first time they have been unearthed in a cave.

Archaeologists have discovered 26 coins in all, including three Roman coins which pre-date the invasion of Britain in AD 43, and 20 other gold and silver pieces which are Late Iron Age and thought to belong to the Corieltavi tribe.

National Trust archaeologist Rachael Hall said whoever owned the cache, which has been declared as "treasure" by the authorities, was probably a wealthy and influential figure.

She said: "The coins would suggest a serious amount of wealth and power of the individual who owned them.

"Coins were used more as a symbol of power and status during the Late Iron Age, rather than for buying and selling staple foods and supplies. Was an individual simply hiding his 'best stuff' for safe keeping? Or, perhaps speculating, in the hope that the value would increase in the future, like a modern-day ISA?

"The situation of the cave can't be ignored either. Could it have been a sacred place to the Late Iron Age peoples that was taboo to enter in everyday life, making it a safe place that would ensure that person's valuables were protected?"

The coins have been cleaned by conservation specialists at the British Museum and University College London and will go on permanent display at Buxton Museum later this year.