Gold coins, medieval treasures unearthed in the yards of British homes during lockdown
New quarantine hobbies discovered a new passion, some of which brought with it a silver aspect.
The British Museum said the program also saw a slight increase in people updating digital records of antiquities while the country was under complete lockdown between March 22 and May 13.
This database contains records of over 1.5 million objects discovered since 1998 by the general public rather than by professional archaeologists.
“It is wonderful to see the scheme grow from strength to strength during the lockdown thanks to the parks discoveries and digital reports,” British Culture Minister Caroline Dennage said in a press release.
The lead alloy seal matrix of the Bishop of St Andrews, David de Burnham (1239-1253) was found this year in Dorsley, Gloucestershire. It is potential fraud. credit: Courtesy of the British Museum Portable Archeology Scheme
Among the new discoveries are two treasures of coins.
One of those coins, which contained 50 solid gold coins from South Africa, was discovered in Milton Keynes, a town 50 miles northwest of London.
It is mysterious how these coins, minted in the 1970s during the apartheid era in South Africa, ended up buried in a British backyard half a century later.
Possibly the coin’s other main treasure, which contained 63 gold coins and a single silver coin housing Kings Edward IV and Henry VIII, was buried in the 16th century. It included coins with initials from many of Henry VIII’s wives, including Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, and Jane Seymour.
After nearly 500 years during the Covid-19 pandemic, residents are re-discovering it while weeding their lawn.
Another amateur finding during the pandemic was ancient Roman furniture made of copper alloy, the face of the god Oceanus clearly visible.
This artifact, found in Old Basing about 50 miles southeast of London, dates back to the first century.
This Roman copper-alloy furniture of the goddess Oceanus was found in Old Basing, Hampshire, and dates back to 43-200 AD. credit: Courtesy of the British Museum Portable Archeology Scheme
Show the discoveries to the public
A new report from PAS shows that about 81,602 objects were added to the chart in 2019, before the latest wave of closed treasure hunt, and each of these items is now in the public domain.
The law aims to allow national or local museums to ultimately obtain historical treasures so that the public at large can benefit.
In the press release, Michael Lewis, the head of the program, said that even during the pandemic, the contact officers of the Portable Archeology Scheme were able to reach the discoverers and obtain artifacts of interest.
He said the mission continues “to ensure that important discoveries in understanding Britain’s past are not lost, but are recorded for future generations.”
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