'Largest ever' hoard of prehistoric gold coins unearthed by a treasure hunter using a metal detector

Posted on 7:14 AM by Sameer Shah

The largest hoard of prehistoric gold coins in Britain in modern times has been discovered.

The discovery was made by a metal detectorist in a field near Wickham Market, Suffolk.

The 824 gold staters, worth the modern equivalent of up to £1m when they were in circulation, were buried in a plain pottery vessel between 15 and AD 20.

According to the Independent, almost all the coins were minted by royal predecessors of Boudicca, a queen of the Iceni people who led an uprising against occupying Roman forces in AD 60.

The find is the most substantial Iron Age gold coin hoard found in Britain since 1849, when a farm worker unearthed between 800 and 2,000 gold staters in a field near Milton Keynes.

To protect the site, archaeologists from Suffolk County Council kept the discovery secret for months while they made excavations, funded by the British Museum.

The area was thoroughly searched to ensure that all of the coins had been found before the discovery was announced to the public.

Ian Leins, the British Museum’s curator of Iron Age coins, told the Independent: 'The [new] hoard is absolutely unique.

'It is the largest hoard of British Iron Age gold coins to be studied in its entirety.'

The solid gold staters, each weighing just over 5g, were made between 40BC and AD 15, most of them in the final 35 years of that period.

It is thought that the hoard represented part of the wealth of an individual or community and was buried as an offering at a time of a political stress, drought or other natural disaster.

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