News on the Frome Hoard

November 22, 2010 – The Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) seeks donations to conserve the Frome Hoard and to keep this important treasure on public display in the county in which it was discovered. The find, made up of 52,503 Roman coins dating from the 3rd century AD, was unearthed tightly packed in a pot and is notable as the largest coin hoard to have been found in a single container. The hoard is also unusual because it includes 766 coins of Carausius, a British usurper, including several rare silver denarii.

David Crisp, a metal detectorist, promptly reported the hoard, which allowed archaeologists to properly excavate the pot and its contents. Because the coins were excavated by layer, experts were able to detect that most of the latest coins (those of Carausius) had lain over half-way down the pot. This led to the conclusion that the hoard was almost certainly buried in one event. The pot could not have held 160kg of metal without breaking. It therefore must have been buried in the ground before the coins were tipped in from smaller containers.

The Somerset County Council Heritage Service is seeking to raise 320,250 GBP to acquire the hoard. In addition, the British Museum is looking to raise another 100,000 GBP to properly conserve and research this important find.

The appeal to acquire the hoard is being co-ordinated by the Art Fund. See

Donations to clean and study the hoard may be made to the British Museum which has its American Friends organisation – Donors should indicate the preference that the funds be used for this purpose (though IRS regulations do not allow for formal earmarks).

For more information about the hoard, click here and here.

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