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Seaton Down Hoard now on display at Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter


The Seaton Down Hoard, which comprises 22,888 Roman coins, and is the largest coin hoard ever discovered in Devon, is on display at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum until the end of September 2017.

The Seaton Down Hoard was buried in the ground c.AD530 and was discovered by metal detectorist Laurence Egerton in November 2013, near Seaton Down in Devon. Expert conservators at the museum have been cleaning the coins, which form the third largest coin hoard ever found in the UK.

About the Seaton Down Hoard

The Hoard contains more than 1,000 different coin types of different ages ranging from AD260 to 348, mainly nummi. They were made in different places across a wide area including the present day Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Croatia and London. The coins would have been accepted in countries across the Roman Empire. Each coin tells a slightly different story and these stories build up into a fascinating picture of life in the Roman world.
The coins would have been of similar value to a present-day pound coin, and in much the same way as today, around five percent of the coins were fakes.In Roman times, the coins would have been the only means of regular mass communication. They contained propaganda messages such as Gloria Exercitus, meaning ‘the army will protect you’.
The coins also contain symbols and messages indicating that Christianity was beginning to be accepted by the Romans. Despite four years of research, experts have been unable to discover why the coins were buried; the fact that the hoard weighs 68 kilos means that the coins were not easily transported and can't easily be lifted or transported by one person.

Viewing the coins

Conservation work began on the coins in July 2016. Talks, Roman Roadshows, museum events, special workshops, gallery tours and other events have been enjoyed by over 15,000 people from Devon and further afield. The Roman Roadshow has visited 46 schools in the region, helping 4276 children to explore the hoard. Almost 100 volunteers have helped clean Roman coins for the display in RAMM.

The coins, which are now one of the most important part of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum's archaeology collection, are on public display between July and September 2017.

Camilla Hampshire, Museum Manager said “We’re so pleased to have the Seaton Down Hoard on permanent display. Thousands of people have taken part in workshops to learn about the coins and help with their conservation and we look forward to welcoming those people to the museum. These amazing coins will be at RAMM for generations to enjoy, wonder at, and be inspired by.”

Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Queen Street, Exeter, EX4 3RX; tel: 01392 265858; website.

For expert coin history, features, auction news and new issues, read Stamp & Coin Mart magazine.

(images copyright Royal Albert Memorial Museum)

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