When is a hoard not a hoard?

A small example of journalism continuing in well-worn cliches despite the facts. Notice how the Chipping Sodbury Gazette announces the finding of a lot of Roman coins – no, can’t write ‘a lot’. What is the cliche for Roman coins? Oh yes, a hoard. Readers will have forgotten the word by the time they come to the British Museum expert saying it’s probably not a hoard…

Gazette

A HOARD of historic Roman coins has been discovered during a dig near Chipping Sodbury.

The find was made by members of the Severn Vale Historical Research and Detecting Society (SHRADS) at a secret site in Horton.

The group has been looking for treasure in fields in the area for months and was thrilled to make the discovery late last year.

Vic Francis, from SHRADS, said: “We can’t say exactly where we found the coins because we want to carry on looking there.

“The coins have been examined at the British Museum and we now have them back.”

The hoard includes 41 Roman Nummi, one radiate, one copper alloy pendant and one forger’s mould some of which are believed to date back to the 4th century.

Caroline Barton, acting treasure registrar at the British Museum in London, said: “It has been assessed by the British Museum where the relevant specialist, Richard Abdy, has examined it.

“In Mr Abdy’s opinion, the finds likely represent a gradual process of site losses over the course of a century, rather than a hoard.”

She said an inquest would not be necessary and the coins could be handed back to members of SHRADS.

Mr Abdy said: ” This group of common fourth century coins comes with an intriguing set of objects.

“It is conceivable, but not entirely convincing, that the coins represent a small hoard of Constantinian nummi while the group of Valentinianic/Theodosian nummi may be unrelated finds or indeed form a second hoard.

“Otherwise they more likely represent a gradual process of site losses over the course of the century in an area that had also seen specialist metal working activity in the form of coin forging.”

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