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Last Updated:  Friday, 4 April, 2003, 10:32 GMT 11:32 UK
Fund-raising plan saves Roman treasure
Roman coins
The hoard of rare coins was buried in about 365 AD
A Roman silver coin hoard, discovered in Somerset, is back on display at the County Museum, Taunton, after successful fund-raising to keep it in the county.

The hoard, found by James Hawkesworth of Bishops Lydeard in October 2001, was reported to the West Somerset Coroner and handed to the museum for recording.

An inquest in April 2002 declared the hoard to be treasure.

In cases of treasure the finder and landowner normally receive a reward equivalent to the market value of the find.

This sum has to be found by the museum wishing to acquire the discovery and a fund-raising campaign was launched in October 2002. Stephen Minnitt of the museum said; "The value of the hoard was established at 40,650, a very considerable sum, and the outcome of our fund-raising was by no means certain.

Very rare

"However, I am delighted to say that we have been successful and the hoard is now back in Somerset."

The majority of the money came from grants of 20,150 awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and 16,400 from the Resource/Victoria and Albert Purchase Grant Fund.

The hoard comprises 680 silver coins and 73 pieces of 'hacksilver', which is scrap silver that has been melted down and, when cooled, chopped up with a hammer and chisel.

The dates of the latest coins show the hoard to have been buried in about 365 AD, a period of time from which coin hoards in Britain are very rare.

There are more than 50 copies among the coins. Some are made from silver of similar purity to the genuine coins while others have a copper core covered with silver foil.

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