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How One Silver Coin Rewrote History

Most of the treasure you hear about is found by a lucky hobbyist armed with a metal detector. The famous Hallaton Treasure is a bit different. It was found by Ken Wallace in 2000 while he was on the job as a member of the Hallaton Fieldwork Group – a group of community archaeologists who work to document the history of Hallaton Parish. But, finder affiliations are not the only thing that makes the Hallaton Treasure stand out.
The Hallaton Treasure is the current record holder for the largest hoard of British Iron Age coins ever discovered. While Wallace’s initial find was only about 130 coins, the full excavation uncovered more than 5,000 gold and silver coins. Other items that were a part of the find include several pieces of jewelry and a Roman parade helmet gilded in silver.

There’s still another reason why the Hallaton Treasure was so important – and it has to do with but a single coin out of the 5,000+ hoard. One of the silver coins was Roman in origin and dated 211 BC, making it the oldest Roman coin found in Britain. However, the Roman conquest of the UK region was not until 43 AD. The presence of that Roman coin in the Hallaton Treasure means that the area must have traded and held cordial relations with the Roman Empire – a previously unsupported and undocumented notion. With such a vast variety of gold and silver coins, it only took one for archaeologists to reconsider history.

Currently, the treasure is on display in the Harborough Museum.


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