RNS/BNS Summer Meeting Shines in Yorkshire

Meeting report: Joint BNS/RNS summer meeting, York 20 July 2013Coin Hoards and Treasure Finds

YNS was delighted to have hosted a very well attended joint meeting of the BNS & RNS in a splendid location overlooking the York race course on a beautiful summer’s day. Over 90 registered to attend, some of whom were able to drag themselves away from the distraction of one of the country’s biggest coin fairs to join several of the sessions.

Roger Bland welcomed the attendees with a statistical summary of the extent of finds of coin hoards and described the new funding which has been made available to pursue vital research.

Eleanor Ghey gave a description of the latest technical advances such as X-radiography, which have contributed to extracting more information from hoard material (e.g. Beau Street, Bath). Detectorists are learning that it is beneficial to leave a hoard unexcavated in their containers (the Frome hoard being a case in point).

Richard Abdy spoke on the 2007 Beau Street, Bath hoard deposited within a stone lined cist in the corner of a room of a Roman building a short distance from the ritual and bathing complex of the famous baths. Lifted as a block, the hoard has been carefully micro-excavated under the guidance of modern imaging techniques. X-radiography had revealed that the hoard was contained in a number of separate money bags.

Sam Moorhead’s topic was the Frome hoard and Carausius. This hoard of 52,503 Roman coins includes the largest deposit of Carausian coins ever found. The hoard has enabled greater insight into the “C” mint. The nature of the hoard – ritual or savings – continues to be debated.

Philippa Walton presented a fascinating insight into the votive deposit at Piercebridge, County Durham where over the past twenty years, more than 5,000 Roman objects have been recovered from the bed of the River Tees unrivalled even by the material from the Sacred Spring at Bath.

Martin Allen gave a paper on the coin hoards and wealth, c. 973 to 1544.
When, just as today,  there were enormous inequalities of wealth, reflected in the size of deposits ranging from a few coins to hundreds of thousands, such as the famous Tutbury hoard, which may have originally consisted of as many as 360,000 silver pennies belonging to the extremely rich Thomas, earl of Lancaster, in 1322.

Edward Besly described the prolific coin hoards of the ‘English’ Civil War of the 1640s. Recent discoveries have provided more than 50 new and well-recorded examples. These include Middleham (N Yorks, 1993) and Tregwynt (Pembs, 1996), the largest reliably-recorded Civil War finds from England and Wales, respectively.Hoarding reflected the vagaries of the war and the changing fortunes of both soldiers and civilians.

Stephen Briggs gave the final paper which described his ground-breaking archival research into digitized nineteenth-centuryperiodicals and newsprint which has revealed a wealth of lost information on hoards and coin finds. So far he has re-discovered around 1,400 hoards with perhaps as many as 80 percent being new to the numismatic record.

Nick Mayhew concluded the meeting with deserved thanks to the speakers and recognition of the organisers’ efforts.

The organisers would also like to thank Andy Woods for organising a much appreciated tour of the Yorkshire Museum the previous afternoon. We are also grateful to the fair organiser, the York racecourse site managers and caterers.

Watch this space for news of our 2014 event!

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