England’s largest Anglo-Saxon gold coin hoard unearthed

The trove consists of 131 gold coins and four gold objects

A hoard of gold coins dating from the Anglo-Saxon period stands to be the largest such discovery ever made in England.

Metal-detectorists unearthed the hoard in a field in West Norfolk. The precise find-spot, however, remains undisclosed.

Buried shortly after AD 600, the trove consists of 131 gold coins, most of which are Frankish tremisses. Nine gold solidi and a larger Byzantine coin were also included.

Image: British Museum.

Among the coins were four gold objects: a gold bracteate (a type of small pendant), a small gold bar, and two other pieces of gold which likely originated from larger items of jewellery.

Most of the objects were discovered between 2014 and 2020 by a single metal-detectorist – who wishes to remain anonymous – and reported to the appropriate authorities.

However, ten of the coins included in the hoard were uncovered by a second detectorist who failed to report his finds and instead attempted to sell them.

An inquest has been opened by HM Coroner for Norfolk to determine whether the hoard constitutes Treasure.

Norwich Castle Museum hopes to acquire it following this procedure.

‘The West Norfolk hoard is a really remarkable find, which will provide a fascinating counterpart to Sutton Hoo at the other end of the kingdom of East Anglia,’ said Helen Geake, Finds Liaison Officer for Norfolk. ‘It underlines the value of metal-detected evidence in helping reconstruct the earliest history of England, but also shows how vulnerable these objects are to irresponsible collectors and the antiquities trade.’