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The Grouville Hoard – metal detectorists discovered 70,000 late Iron Age and Roman coins on the east side of Jersey in the Channel Islands

Neil Patrick

The Grouville Hoard is a hoard of an estimated 70,000 late Iron Age and Roman coins discovered in June 2012.

They were discovered by metal detectorists Reg Mead and Richard Miles in a field at an undisclosed location in the parish of Grouville on the east side of Jersey in the Channel Islands.

It is the largest hoard ever found in Jersey, and the first major archaeological find made by metal detectorists on the island.

Mead and Miles started metal detecting in the area where the hoard was reported in the early 1980s after they heard about a farmer who some years earlier had discovered a number of silver coins in an earthenware pot while pulling out a tree from a hedgerow.

However, as they did not know the exact location of the find, and as the current owner of the farm would only allow them to metal detect once a year for 10–15 hours after the crops had been harvested, it took about 30 years before they eventually managed to locate the hoard.

The excavated hoard undergoing cleaning and investigation. Jewellery can be seen protruding from the mass of coins. - Source

The excavated hoard undergoing cleaning and investigation. Jewellery can be seen protruding from the mass of coins. – Source

In early 2012, Mead and Miles initially found 60 silver and one gold Iron Age coins, possibly minted by the Curiosolitae tribe at Saint-Malo in France.

Subsequent detecting by Mead and Miles in the area of the initial find led them to discover a huge mass of Iron Age and Roman coins embedded in clay.

The pair notified Jersey Heritage of the find, and in June 2012, archaeologists from the Société Jersiaise and Jersey Heritage, together with Celtic coin expert Philip de Jersey, worked to remove the clay mass of coins, measuring 140×80×20 cm (55×31×8 in) and weighing about 750 kg (1,650 lb), which has since been taken to the Jersey Archive for cleaning and conservation.

Two gold torcs have been identified at the edge of the mass of coins.Source

Two gold torcs have been identified at the edge of the mass of coins.Source

 

The legal situation regarding the coins is unclear as the law of treasure trove may no longer be applicable in Jersey, and Jersey does not have a legal framework for dealing with treasure finds such as the Treasure Act 1996 in the United Kingdom.

The discovery has been reported to the Receiver General of JerseyAs of 2015, the hoard is on display at La Hougue Bie Museum