England’s Largest Anglo-Saxon Gold Coin Hoard Unearthed in Norfolk

Metal detectorists have unearthed the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold coins in England.

An inquiry at Norfolk Coroner’s Court in Norwich on Nov. 3 declared that the coins sporadically discovered over a period of nearly 30 years belonged to the same hoard.

A single anonymous detectorist found most of the 131 coins, as well as four other gold objects, dating to 1,400 years ago, in a field in west Norfolk between 1991 and 2020.

The four other gold objects include a bracteate, a bar, and two other pieces that were likely to be jewelry parts.

The detectorist reported the finds to the relevant authorities.

Another detectorist David Cockle, who was a serving police officer at the time, discovered 10 of the coins and tried to illegally sell them.

Cockle was jailed for 16 months in 2017 after admitting to theft.

The exact location where the treasure was found has not been disclosed because the landowner requested anonymity.

Norwich Castle Museum hopes to acquire the hoard with the full support of the British Museum, under the Treasure Act, which allows museums to acquire such finds for public benefit.

The Treasure Act also normally rewards the finder and the landowner.

Tim Pestell, the senior curator of archaeology at Norwich Castle Museum, said that the treasure was an “internationally significant find.”

Pestell added that the treasure “reflects the wealth and continental connections enjoyed by the early Kingdom of East Anglia.”

“Study of the hoard and its find spot has the potential to unlock our understanding of early trade and exchange systems and the importance of west Norfolk to East Anglia’s ruling kings in the seventh century,” Pestell further said.

The previous largest Anglo-Saxon coin hoard was a purse containing 101 coins discovered at Crondall in Hampshire in 1828.

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