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The Rauceby Hoard

The Rauceby Hoard was discovered by a detectorist near Ancaster (Lincolnshire) in July 2017, close to Ermine Street, originally a Roman road leading from Londinium (London) to Lindum Colonia (Lincoln) and Eboracum (York).

The importance of the hoard further lies in its well-recorded find context and the fact that it is the largest recorded hoard from this period found in Britain to date.

The coins were found in a ceramic pot, which was buried in the centre of a large oval pit – lined with quarried limestone. What was found during the excavation suggests that the hoard was not put in the ground in secret, but rather was perhaps a ceremonial or votive offering. The Rauceby hoard is giving us further evidence for so-called ‘ritual’ hoarding in Roman Britain.

Dr Eleanor Ghey, Curator of Iron Age and Roman Coin Hoards at the British Museum, commented: “At the time of the burial of the hoard around AD 307, the Roman Empire was increasingly decentralised and Britain was once again in the spotlight following the death of the emperor Constantius in York. Roman coins had begun to be minted in London for the first time.”

The hoard was reported under the UK’s Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) and sent to the British Museum. In 2019 the hoard was declared as Treasure Trove and only then reported by the press when it was declared as the largest hoard of it’s type to have been found in the UK.

The hoard consisted of 3,099 tetrarchic nummi dating from 294 to 307 AD, many in near mint-state condition. The latest dated coins in the hoard were of Constantine as caesar dating to 307 AD.

The youngest coin in the hoard was a reduced follis of Maximian, perhaps minted under Constantine I, but no coins of the latter as Augustus were found.

This means the hoard was likely buried circa 307, amidst the events of Constantine I’s acclamation as Caesar in Eboracum in 306 and his subsequent elevation to the rank of Augustus in December 307.

The majority of the coins were from Gaul (875 London, 1459 Trier, 468 Lyons), Italy (226), Carthage (24) and a small number from eastern mints. The coins were in remarkable condition, loose rather than fused together, and with only minimal surface deposits.

Since the hoard was declared Treasure Trove the British Museum got first pick, and chose to keep 375 coins, which the finders were paid for. The remaining coins were finally returned to the two finders earlier this year, to be split between them (700 each) and the landowner (1400).

Our collection contains  two Follis from Galerius and from Constantius I Chlorus (the Father of Constantine I the Great) from the famous Rauceby Hoard.

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