The British Museum has put on display the largest Anglo-Saxon coin hoard discovered since the implementation of the United Kingdom’s Treasure Act of 1996. The 5,200 coin hoard was discovered by treasure hunter Paul Coleman in the village of Lenborough, Buckinghamshire, a rural community located approximately 2 hours northeast of London.
Minister of State for Culture, Ed Vaizey was on hand for the unveiling of the hoard, which coincided to the release of the Treasure Annual Report 2012.
The present condition of the coins is a far cry from what they looked like when they were discovered wrapped in a lead sheet and buried underground. The coins are of Æthelred II (978-1016) and Cnut (1016-35), and were believed to have been buried towards the end of Cnut’s reign. A careful inspection of the coins revealed that the hoard contained coins from more than forty different English mints – a sign that coins from the different mints freely circulated at the time.
In a Museum press release, Museum Director Neil MacGregor is quoted as saying:
“The publication of the latest Treasure Report demonstrates the important contribution the Treasure Act and Portable Antiquities Scheme have made to our understanding of Britain’s history and in supporting collections around the country. More Treasure finds are being reported than ever before and unique objects are documented and conserved for study and public display, such as the recent find of the largest Anglo-Saxon coin hoard recorded since the Treasure Act of 1996. These achievements are a testament to the network of Finds Liaison Officers, who play a key role in ensuring archaeological finds found by the public are properly reported and recorded. It is particularly welcome that, due to the generosity of funding bodies and individual supporters, many of these finds are being acquired by local museums”.
The British Museum also produced the following video segment, detailing the event: