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17.03.2021

Hoxne Hoard

The Hawksne Hoard is the largest treasure trove of late Roman silver and gold found in Britain, and the largest collection of fourth and fifth century gold and silver coins found anywhere within the Roman Empire. It was found by Eric Loz, a metal detectorist in the village of Hawksne in Suffolk County, England, in 1992. The treasure consists of 14,865 Roman gold, silver and bronze coins and about 200 pieces of silverware and gold jewelry. The objects are now in the British Museum in London, where the most important pieces and some others are on permanent display. In 1993, the Treasure Appraisal Committee estimated the treasure at £1.75 million (about £3.59 million in 2019).

The treasure was buried in an oak box or small chest filled with precious metal objects, sorted mostly by type, some in smaller wooden boxes and others in bags or wrapped in cloth. Excavations have uncovered the remains of the chest and its fixtures, such as hinges and locks. The coins of the day hoard it after A.D. 407, which coincides with the end in Britain as a Roman province. The owners and reasons for burying the hoard are unknown, but it was carefully packed and its contents are consistent with what may have belonged to one very wealthy family. It is likely that the treasure represents only a fraction of its owner's wealth, given the absence of large silver serving vessels and some of the more common types of jewelry.

The Hawksne treasure contains several rare and important items, such as a gold body chain and gilded silver pepper pots (piperatoria), including the Empress pepper pot . The treasure also has special archaeological significance because it was excavated by professional archaeologists and the objects were mostly intact and undamaged. The find has helped improve relations between metal detectors and archaeologists and has influenced changes in English law regarding treasure finds.

The treasure mainly consists of gold and silver coins and jewelry, totaling 3.5 kg (7.7 pounds) of gold and 23.75 kg (52.4 pounds) of silver. [23] It was placed in a wooden chest made mostly or entirely of oak , measuring approximately 60 × 45 × 30 cm (23.6 × 17.7 × 11.8 in). In the chest, some items were apparently placed in smaller boxes of yew and cherry, while others were packed in woolen cloth or hay. The chest and inner boxes were almost completely destroyed after burial, but fragments of the chest and its fixtures were discovered during excavations.  The main objects found were:

  • 569 gold coins.
  • 14,272 silver coins, including 60 miliards and 14,212 flints
  • 24 bronze coins
  • 29 pieces of gold jewelry
  • 98 silver spoons and scoops
  • A silver tiger made as a handle for a vessel
  • 4 silver bowls and a small dish
  • 1 silver tumbler
  • 1 silver vase or jug
  • 4 pepper pots, including an Empress pepper pot
  • Toiletries, such as toothpicks.
  • 2 silver locks from decomposed remnants of wooden or leather boxes
  • Traces of various organic materials, including a small ivory pixie

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