In 1992, a retired man named Eric Lawes stumbled upon a treasure while searching for his friend’s lost hammer in Hoxne village, Suffolk. Lawes discovered a strong signal with his metal detector and began digging, uncovering silver spoons and gold coins. Realizing the significance of his find, he alerted the authorities and the local archaeological society. The following day, archaeologists carefully excavated the site, unearthing an astonishing 60 pounds of gold and silver objects, including 15,234 Roman coins and various gold items. The treasure, known as the Hoxne hoard, is considered the largest and most recent hoard ever found in Britain.
In total, Whatling and Lawes received 1.8 million £, (which in today’s money corresponds to approximately 4.7 million $) as a reward from the British government and split it with the farmer on whose land the hoard was discovered. The unique excavation method used by archaeologists, instead of the hoard being accidentally found by farmers plowing their fields, made it invaluable. Over the past 25 years, researchers have used the Hoxne hoard to gain insights into Britain’s turbulent period of separation from the Roman Empire in 410 A.D. The coins in the hoard, most of which were clipped, were likely in circulation for decades after the Roman Empire’s influence waned in Britain. The treasure also contains jewelry, silver spoons, and other objects that offer glimpses into the lives of wealthy families during that time.
The Hoxne hoard presents a captivating narrative, marking the end of the Roman Empire and the early days of a new empire. Despite many unanswered questions surrounding its origins and burial date, the hoard serves as a fascinating historical artifact. It not only enriches the field of archaeology but also offers a happy ending to a tale of unexpected discovery and hidden treasure.
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