Wednesday, 7 September 2022

The St Albans Hoard

In October 2012, a novice treasure hunter who bought a basic metal detector returned to the shop in Hertfordshire weeks later, clutching part of England's finest ever hoard of late Roman gold coins. Wesley Carrington took his new metal detector out into a field near St. Albans and struck ancient gold. He showed stunned staff at the store 40 gold solidi, before asking: 'What do I do with this?' They contacted local experts and together got the permits they needed, headed back to the scene and found another 119 coins. The find of such a large hoard of solidi is very rare, as the coins were not in regular circulation due to their extremely high value.
The man had bought a Garrett Ace 150, retailing at around £135 and described as "the ideal metal detector for parent-child expeditions or for adults interested in exploring a potential hobby". After finding an old spoon and then a half penny, Carrington's machine beeped again. He dug seven inches down to uncover a gold coin with a Roman figure on it. Others followed.
Officials described the hoard as 'a nationally significant find.' The coins are a rare example of the solidus, dating from the last days of Roman rule in Britain. The last consignments of them reached UK shores in 408AD. St Albans was the site of the Roman town of Verulamium.
The coins were bought by the local council for £98,500 in 2015 and are now on display at the Verulamium Museum.