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20.04.2021

La Marquanderie Hoard

On April 22, 1985, an unusually large hoard of coins was found at La Marcanderie, St. Brelade, on the Jersey Island. When it was found, the hoard numbered more than 11,000 coins. They did not contain
in a vessel, but were under large rocks and about 1 foot 8 inches below the surface. 10,546 coins were presented to the Societe Gercinis. A preliminary illustrated report on the coins by Major N. W. L. Rybot was published in the Bulletin of the Jesuit Society, 1937. 

The vast majority of the 10,546 coins reported belong to the to the four classes most commonly found in Jersey.

The coins are thought to date back to 50 B.C., when Julius Caesar's armies were advancing northwest through France, pushing tribal communities toward the coast. Some of them would have crossed the sea to Jersey, finding safe haven away from Caesar's campaigns. The only place to store their wealth was to bury it in a secret place where it had been hidden for more than two millennia.

It is impossible to determine the exact number of coins, but the mass lifted from the burial site is estimated to contain between 30,000 and 60,000 coins. If the upper estimate is correct, the find could advance Frome's hoard of 52,000 Roman coins to second place as the largest hoard ever discovered. The three-quarter-ton stash represents the largest collection of Celtic coins ever found on Jersey, an island known for its Iron Age coin hoards.

Careful excavation and recording by Société Jersiaise archaeologists Robert Waterhouse and Philip de Jersey revealed that the coins were deposited at the bottom of a roughly dug hole, one meter below the present ground surface (though the surface of the Iron Age earth had been lost to plowing). The hoard formed a solid drop-shaped mass measuring 143 cm x 80 cm x 20 cm, and all of the coins identified to date are of Armorican origin (modern Brittany and Normandy) from the Coriosolite tribe, which was based around the Rance valley in the area of modern Saint-Malo and Dinant. They appear to be made of "billon", an alloy of copper and silver.
 

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