A real treasure trove
SENSATIONAL hoard of ancient coins worth more than £1 million has been found by members of a metal detecting group in a field near Aylesbury during a Christmas dig.
More than 100 people from Weekend Wanderers Detecting Club turned out to take part in the festive hunt and were stunned to find the collection of more than 5,000 silver coins, thought to be more than 1,000 years old.
The perfectly preserved pieces, which feature the faces of Anglo Saxon kings, were in a lead bucket which was buried two feet underground.
The club’s founder and leader, 56-yearold Pete Welch said: “They’re like mirrors, no scratching, and buried really carefully in a lead container, deep down.
“It looks like only two people have handled these coins. The person who made them and the person who buried them.
“I’m just hoping that these coins will end up in a museum for the public to see. I wouldn’t want to see them go to a private collector.”
Kings featured on the coins include Ethelred the Unready (978-1016 AD) and Canute (1016-1035 AD).
Mr Welch added: “We don’t know how many variations of the coins there are and when we do we will know how significant the find is. This would have been a huge amount of money in its day. One coin alone would have been a lot back then.
“Everyone dreams of a pot of gold. The reality is you spend most of your time digging up bits of junk. The excitement was electric as more pieces of the box were lifted from the ground. We saw layer upon layer of coins. Everyone gasped as we realised this was something major.
“Early indications are that the hoard may be linked to the Norman invasion in 1066. We think a quick decision was made to hide the coins as William the Conqueror’s army approached the Royal Mint in Buckingham.”
A Bucks County Museum spokesman said: “This is one of the largest hoards of Anglo Saxon coins ever found in Britain.
“When the coins have been properly identified and dated, we may be able to guess at why such a great treasure was buried.”