It’s time for an update on the Beau Street Hoard - the stash of Roman coins found literally round the corner from the Roman Baths. Since our last post about this fascinating find, there have been significant developments.
The conservation team and the Coins and Medals Department at the British Museum have worked hard to dismantle, clean and count the coins - recording the process in a remarkable, time-lapsed photographic record (which you can see on their blog). To date the definitive number of coins is 17,577, made up largely of denarii and early silver and later debased radiates. The hoard was discovered in eight decaying pouches, made of animal skin, secreted within a stone-lined pit in the ground of a Roman building within the town. This is unusual, as hoards were more likely to be buried in isolated, rural locations. The curators estimate the hoard was hidden there around AD 270 but, intriguingly, we don’t know who buried it or why.
Now the coins have been separated and are reasonably clean they are safely stored at the British Museum in plastic bags within Tupperware boxes (see photo). There is also a selection exhibited in the Citi Money Gallery at the British Museum.
|Some of the sorted coins from the hoard at the British Museum|
The next stage is for the hoard to be valued by the Treasure Valuation Committee at the end of May, after which the Beau Street Hoard project team here at the Roman Baths will know how much money needs to be raised. This team, consisting of staff from the Roman Baths and a selection of external partners, is responsible for fundraising to ensure we can acquire and display the hoard, keeping it safe and accessible, together with its archive material, at the Roman Baths. Alongside this, we will be delivering an exciting public engagement programme to encourage as many people as possible to enjoy and learn about the hoard – both first hand and virtually.
After a successful application to Stage One of the Heritage Lottery Fund, we are now working up our Stage Two application to submit in the autumn. I’ve been recruited as Project Officer to co-ordinate the project team and keep us on track. However, as well as lottery funding, we are actively seeking support from the public, and have been spreading the word about the Beau Street Hoard far and wide. Stephen Clews, Roman Baths and Pump Room Manager, has been talking about the hoard to various groups across the BANES authority and, from them, we have received vital contributions which will help us reach our funding target. Watch this space for updates and, if you haven’t seen the hoard, come and enjoy our temporary display in the Sun Lounge of the Roman Baths.