Coroner rules thousand-year-old silver coins found in Huntingdonshire are ‘treasure’

One of the coins dating back to the reign of Aethelred the Unready

One of the coins dating back to the reign of Aethelred the Unready - Credit: Archant

Two silver coins dating back 1,000 years to the reign of Aethelred the Unready were found by a metal detectorist searching a field at Southoe, an inquest has heard.

The coins were declared to be treasure by assistant coroner David Morris at the hearing in Huntingdon last Wednesday (April 18).

Mr Morris said the coins were believed to have been minted in Huntingdonshire in early medieval times and were so similar they had to be linked.

They had been discovered in separate fields in 2016 by the detectorist and the inquest heard that the finder had considered challenging a potential treasure verdict - which affects how the items are valued - because the coins had been found separately, taking them outside the rules which define treasure.

But Mr Morris concluded that the coins had become separated over the years and amounted to treasure, a decision he will pass on to the British Museum.

A report from the museum said: “It is, however, highly likely that the coins were deposited together and had been separated by natural and agricultural processes.”

It described how the coins, which dated from around 1000, were virtually identical to each other and were marked with the words Aedelred Rex Anglo.

Most Read

Aethelred the Unready was the king of England between 978-1013 and from 1014 to 1016. He was on the throne for 37 years and was the longest-reigning Anglo-Saxon king of England.

Mr Morris also declared two other finds discovered by detectorists to be treasure.

One was a gold-plated penannular ring dating from 1150-750 BC which was found in a field at Barley, near Royston.

Mr Morris said the use of the ring was unclear but it could have been a nose ring, a hair ring or a form of ring money.

A British Museum report said the Bronze Age ring was intact and was probably gold plated rather than solid gold. It was decorated and a rusty patch showed a copper alloy underneath.

The third was an animal head-shaped item made from copper alloy and silver, dating from the 5th-9th century, and found at Weston Colville, near Cambridge. It still showed traces of gilding around the eyes.