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Museum in race to save ancient gold coins

Halesworth and District Museum have been given a deadline to try to keep a newly discovered hoard of Iron Age coins from leaving the area forever. The coins, dating from the century before the arrival of the Romans, were unearthed by a metal detectorist in Blythburgh in 2019 and declared Treasure Trove. The group of nineteen gold pieces have now been offered to the Museum under the Treasure Act at a cost of £16,000. The Museum has three months to raise the sum.

Chair of the Museum Trustees, Pauline Wilcock, explains that the hope is to raise the majority of the sum through national grant-giving bodies but at least part needs to be contributed locally to demonstrate local interest. “We have set ourselves a target of raising £2,000 from the area and hope that local people will see the importance of being able to retain and display these wonderful finds locally for this and future generations.”

The coins, which are among the earliest produced in Britain, bear animal shapes and strange symbols, hidden faces and swirling patterns. One at least is the first of its kind ever to be discovered. Minted by tribal leaders, some have been identified with the Trinovantes, the group occupying Essex and south Suffolk, though they were found on land which was the territory of the Iceni – Boudicca’s tribe. How they came to be left or buried can only, at this stage, be a matter of speculation.

To find out more about the coins and learn more about the period in which they were minted, you can listen in to ‘Unlocking the Mystery of Coins: the Cookley and Blythburgh Hoards’, an on-line illustrated talk by David Wollweber, who has been researching the subject. This will be on Friday 25 February at 2.30. To register, e-mail  zoomtalk@halesworthmuseum.org.uk and head your e-mail ZoomTalk. (If you are a Friend of the Museum, let us know in order to get priority access).

To contribute to the fund-raising and help keep the coins here in the Blyth valley, you can make a contribution by going to http://halesworthmuseum.org.uk/wpress/iron-age-gold-coin-hoard-from-blythburgh/ or by sending your donation – big or small (they all count) – to Halesworth and District Museum, Station Road, Halesworth, IP19 8BZ.