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The Shrewsbury Roman Hoard returns to Shropshire (5th March 2013)

The largest coin hoard ever discovered in Shropshire has now returned to the county, thanks to grant aid given by the Headley Trust, the Victoria & Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund, and The Association for Roman Archaeology.

Generous donations were also made locally by the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society, and the Friends of Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery. 

The 9,236 coins were placed in cloth bags and buried in a very large storage jar some 1,700 years ago. 

Emma-Kate Lanyon, Head of Collections for Shropshire Museums, said:

"The coins within the hoard represent some of the most commonly found coins from Roman Britain.  The importance of this find is the sheer number and value they represent. It is likely that the hoard belonged to a wealthy person or community, and was buried for safekeeping but, for some reason, the coins were never recovered.

The hoard will now be photographed and catalogued to allow people to study the hoard online, before being prepared for display at the new Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery,

Phil Scoggins, Interpretation Officer for the Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery Project, said:

"The scale of this hoard makes it visually very exciting.  This important find will form the centrepiece of our display, which explains why Roman coin hoards were buried and what they can tell us about Roman culture.  The fact that the coins were still in their pot when it was excavated, not to mention the rare survival of fragments of the cloth money bags, has given us a fascinating snapshot of Roman life.  It is also remarkable that, whilst carefully excavating the hoard, archaeologists have been able to establish that whoever buried these coins kept their location secret for a number of years, adding more coins over time."

The Roman Gallery planned for the new Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery will showcase some of the county's nationally important Roman finds, and is due to open later this year.  This fascinating collection has been reappraised by a number of well-known archaeologists and specialists, to give new insights into how the arrival of the Roman Army shaped Shropshire and what happen after Roman rule ended.

Emma-Kate Lanyon said:

"Our Prehistoric and Roman collections are some of the finest in the region.  New evidence, like this hoard, is emerging all the time, so theories change and opinions vary as to how this evidence should be interpreted.  By involving leading archaeologists such as Roger White of Birmingham University and Neil Faulkner of Current Archaeology magazine, we've not only worked to make sure our interpretation of the objects on display is up to date, but have also taken the opportunity to explore with our visitors how our views of the past are shaped and developed."

Mike Owen, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member responsible for tourism and culture, said:

"The Treasure Act and Portable Antiquities Scheme is now over 15 years old, and has vastly increased our understanding of Shropshire's past by bringing finds made by the public to the attention of archaeologists.  It has also provided our museums with the opportunity to develop their collections by acquiring important and unique artefacts for future research and display.  We are very grateful to all our funders for their support, which helps ensure that everyone can appreciate and learn from remarkable finds such as this for generations to come."