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This blog is a behind the scenes look at the Roman Baths in Bath. We hope you enjoy reading our stories about life surrounding the Roman Baths.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Beau Street Hoard & The U3A: The Story So Far…

One of the activities in the Heritage Lottery funded Beau Street Hoard Project is photography of the hoard, by members of local U3A groups.

In order that the coins can be identified, they are first being accessioned in to the Roman Baths Museum collection. This includes individually packing each coin identified by the British Museum, and assigning it a unique number. As every one of the 17,577 coins in the hoard need an individual number, this is a somewhat daunting task, currently being carried out by a wide range of our collections volunteers (all 13 of them) and placements.

 All 775 coins from Bag 5 individually numbered and stored

Once individually packed and numbered, the next stage in the process is the photography and weighing of the coins. It is for this stage of work, which we have enlisted the help of U3A volunteers.

 U3A volunteers photographing and weighing the coins
In teams of three, they are photographing the coins; including the accession number, for identification purposes, the obverse (heads) side, and the reverse (tails) side. Along the way they are having, to get used to identifying the images on either side of the coin, so that each photograph accurately displays the coin.

Three images are taken for every coin

Once photographed, they are also weighing the coins, the recording of this information being crucial to identifying coins.

To date, 3229 coins have been photographed and weighed. This includes the entirety of Bags 5, 6, 7 and 8. The contents of these four bags are a good representation of coins from the hoard, denarii, radiates and debased radiates.

Bags 5 and 6 are the best examples of silver coins from the hoard, so they were nice coins to get the U3A started on, however, it wasn’t long before they had to move on to doing the considerably less shiny coins from Bags 7 and 8, and they are doing a sterling job in photography what are some rather nasty coins.

Some rather nasty coins from Bag 7

The rate at which the coins are being photographed and the speed at which the U3A volunteers are learning to recognise the reverses of coins has been unprecedented, and so work on Bag 2 has already started while we have other volunteers working through getting the rest of it numbered.

 Bag 2 all bagged up and waiting to be numbered

With work soon to recommence on getting the rest of the hoard identified at the British Museum, it hopefully won’t be long until we are working our way through the rest of the hoard too!


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