Iron Age coin hoard uncovered in Anglesey

An Iron Age hoard consisting of 15 gold coins known as ‘staters’ was discovered in Llangoed Community, Anglesey, by three metal-detectorists between July 2021 and March 2022. This is the first hoard of gold staters to be found in all of Wales, whose Iron Age communities did not mint their own coins, and last month it was declared treasure by HM Senior Coroner for North West Wales, Kate Robertson.

The coins all show the bust of Apollo on the obverse (right) – a style thought to be derived from Macedonian gold coins of Philip II – and a two-horsed chariot with charioteer on the reverse. Based on slight variations in the style of each coin, it is believed they were struck between 60 BC and 20 BC at three different mints across an area of what is now Lincolnshire but which during the Iron Age was inhabited by the Corieltavi people.

There is ongoing debate over how coins from this period were used, but the current consensus is that they probably were not used for everyday transactions. Instead, they may have been a part of a gift exchange between elites or as a votive offering to particular deities, although an archaeological survey of the site by Gwynedd Archaeological Trust was unable to find any more-concrete clues as to why the hoard was buried.

Votive deposits found at Llyn Cerrig Bach (see CA 273) suggest that the island may have been an important religious centre from the 1st century BC to the 1st century AD, while both the Parys Mountain in Anglesey and the nearby Great Orme were major sources of copper, so Iron Age tribes in the region could have received them in exchange for this natural resource.

Oriel Môn museum in Anglesey has expressed an interest in acquiring the hoard once it has been independently valued by the Treasure Valuation Committee.

Image: Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales