Hoard of ancient gold coins still holds the public’s attention

Gold coins minted by the ancient Iceni tribe of East Anglia

We reported back in June on the hoard of gold coins discovered in Suffolk that were going on display to the public after almost £300,000 was raised by donations and a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The 840 coins are the largest ever hoard of Iron Age gold coins discovered in Britain and were minted more than 2000 years ago by the Iceni tribe, who dominated East Anglia prior to the Roman occupation of Britain.

Over three months on and enthusiasm for the coins has not diminished. Fifty free places offered up by the Ipswich Museum to help clean the coins in its workshop have been quickly snapped up by eager enthusiasts. The curator of the museum, Caroline McDonald, said “We wanted our contemporary communities to experience the coins close up.”

Allowing the public to take part in the cleaning process has been made all the easier due to the excellent condition the gold coins were discovered in. Usually, a laboratory type environment using microscopes, specialist tools and skills would be required. Instead, the successful volunteers will be fortunate enough to be let loose with cottons swabs and alcohol to remove any remaining soil and corrosion and to stabilise the coins ready for preservation.

The reason for the original burial of the hoard of coins remains a mystery, but fortunately, due to their gold content, they have remained in such excellent condition as to be enjoyed by current and future generations for a long time to come.


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