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  The Wickham Market Hoard, 2009  posted by support on 20 Nov : 11:21

One of the UK's largest hauls of Iron Age gold coins has been found in Suffolk. The 824 so-called staters were found, using a metal detector, in a broken pottery jar buried in a field near Wickham Market. Jude Plouviez, of the Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service, said the coins dated from 40BC to AD15. They are thought to have been minted by predecessors of the Iceni Queen Boudicca. Ms Plouviez said their value when in circulation had been estimated at a modern equivalent of between ВЈ500,000 and ВЈ1m, but they were likely to be worth less than that now. Wealthy tribes "It's a good, exciting find. It gives us a lot of new information about the late Iron Age, and particularly East Anglia in the late Iron Age. "The discovery is important because it highlights the probable political, economic and religious importance of an area. "It certainly suggests there was a significant settlement nearby. As far as we understand, it was occupied by wealthy tribes or subtribes," she said. Ms Plouviez said the find was the largest collection of Iron Age gold coins found in Britain since 1849, when a farm worker unearthed between 800 and 2,000 gold staters in a field near Milton Keynes. Secret excavations She said secret excavations had been carried out on the latest find in Suffolk after a man reported it to the council's archaeological service in October. The staters, which each weigh about 5g, will now be valued ahead of a treasure trove inquest. "We don't know how much they will be worth but it will be less than they were at the time," said Ms Plouviez. "After the treasure trove inquest, they will be offered to museums at their current value." She said the exact location of the find would not be made public but added "thorough" searches of the area had not uncovered any further artefacts. It was the biggest collection of Iron-age coins found in Britain in 160 years One of the UK's largest hauls of Iron Age gold coins has been declared treasure at an inquest in Suffolk. The 840 handmade coins, called staters, were unearthed in a field near Wickham Market, Suffolk, in March last year. After Michael Dark made the discovery with his metal detector, archaeologists found more coins, which are now at the British Museum in London. Experts believe they were produced by predecessors of the Iceni queen Boudicca and date from 40BC to AD15. It is the largest haul of coins to be discovered in 150 years and could be worth up to ВЈ500,000. Rare find Only a few hoards of similar Icenian coins, which depict a horse on one side, have ever been found. The Iceni lived in Norfolk, much of Suffolk, and parts of Cambridgeshire during the century before the Roman conquest in 43AD. Archaeologists think the coins were probably buried in the early years of the 1st Century, about 25 years before the Romans arrived. Only the bottom half of a pot containing some of the coins had survived, the rest was smashed during cultivation of the field. Mr Dark told the BBC: "I knew there was a lot there but did not realise it was as significant as it was." He said he would like to see the hoard displayed at Ipswich Museum. Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean declared the hoard treasure, as the coins were more than 300 years old. During the treasure trove inquest, Dr Dean heard how most were produced in Suffolk and Norfolk, but why such a large hoard was buried is still unclear.

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