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03.01.2021

Canterbury-St Martin's hoard

The Canterbury Martin Hoard is a hoard of coins found in 19th century Canterbury, Kent, beginning in the 6th century. The group, housed at the World Museum in Liverpool, consists of eight items, including three gold coins mounted on pendant hinges for use as pendants. One is a Ludhardt medallion, the earliest surviving Anglo-Saxon coin. The other coin is in the National Library.

The treasure was found shortly before April 25, 1844, when some items from the find were first discussed at a meeting of the Royal Numismatic Society by Charles Roach Smith. All Smith knew about the date they were found was that it was "some years later," as he wrote in 1844. The location of the hoard is usually given as the churchyard of St. Martin's Church, Canterbury, but the first publication about the find, written by Smith, states that the find was "in the grounds of St. Augustine's Monastery." The objects were acquired by W. H. Rolfe, a resident of Sandwich, Kent, in two stages, the first acquisition being three objects acquired before April 1844 and another five objects acquired shortly after September 1844.

The first three were first published in the 1844 edition of Collectanea Antiqua, and when five more were received, this publication was amended to reflect the new objects. Then in 1845 Smith published the entire contents of the hoard in the Numismatic Chronicle.

The items in the hoard were examined with X-ray and fluorescent machines. The author of this study, S. C. Hawkes, claims that eight items in the hoard were found in different graves. However, historian Philip Grierson believed that the probability of coins of the same period being found from two graves from different time periods is so low that the likelihood of the hoard being found from two graves is slim.

This hoard is the only late 6th or early 7th century find in a churchyard grave. All of the coins in the hoard were probably part of a necklace that was buried in a woman's grave. One of the items in the hoard, the Ludhart Medallion, is the earliest surviving Anglo-Saxon coin.

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