Caesar's silver unearthed
2000 year old Roman treasures, unearthed near Winchester, have been saved for the local community with the help of a grant of over £1,000 to Winchester City Council's museums service. The find consists of three separate hoards of coins, found by a local metal detectorist.
The hoards comprise seven silver siliquae; one gold aureus and twenty-three silver denarii; and three late Iron Age gold staters found with six silver denarii. The coins range in date from 113 BC to AD 37, some inscribed with the name Julius Caesar. The forty coins, valued at £2,540, were originally found by the late Kevan Halls of Fareham. They were reported by his widow to the Portable Antiquities Scheme, based at the museums service's headquarters at Hyde Historic Resources Centre, and subsequently declared 'Treasure' by the coroner, which gave Winchester Museums the opportunity to acquire them. The hoards were found by Mr Halls in the vicinity of the 'Winchester Treasure', the major find of late Iron Age gold jewellery made by him in 2000 and exhibited in the City Museum, though now in the British Museum.
Dr Geoff Denford, Winchester Museums Curator, applied for a grant to help buy the coins from a fund administered by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on behalf of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. He commented, "We are delighted to have been able to acquire some of the finds from what must have been an important Iron Age and Roman site. There has been some speculation that the hoards were deposited as a ritual act, perhaps at a sacred grove of trees. Certainly, archaeological excavations on the site of the find revealed no remains of any buildings". He added, "The aureus of the Emperor Tiberius is the first and only Roman gold coin in the museum's entire collections, which for me makes the acquisition doubly prized".
The coins will eventually go on display and will shortly be available for viewing at Winchester Museums' online collections website at www.winchestermuseumcollections.org.uk/