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13 November 2014

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You are in: Leicester > History > Local History > Hallaton Treasure

Hallaton Treasures

Hallaton Treasures

Hallaton Treasure

BBC Leicester's Jo Hollis has been on a treasure hunt to find out about the bag of loot that has cast a whole new light on the history of one Leicestershire village.

Imagine the scene - a relative buys you a metal detector for Christmas and off you toddle thinking you might find an odd bottle top or coke can at best.

Well in the case of one treasure hunter in Leicestershire it was several dozen coins, which have come to be known as the Hallaton Treasure. 

They were unearthed at the turn of this century, along with a silver helmet, and are now finally to be released to the general public.

Hallaton treasures

Carol and Peter with a replica helmet

Listen: Treasure Hunting

BBC Leicester's Jo Hollis spoke to Carol Kirby and Peter Liddle about the discovery in Hallaton...

The new exhibition tells the story of the finding from the perspective of the people who found the treasure in 2000.

One such person is the Chair of the Museum Carol Kirby, "We realised very quickly that this was a very unusual find.

"We were all bowled over really and didn't quite know understand initially how important it really was."

The find had to be kept secret because the site was raided by opportunist hoping to get some of the loot for themselves.

The coins then had to be bought from the landowners and the metal detector who found them.

Hallaton treasures

Replica coins

Historical Importance

Peter Liddle is a community archaeologist and remembers the discovery first being brought in to county hall:

"This essentially was more than all the Iron Age coins that I'd seen in the 30 years before from the whole of Leicestershire and Rutland.

"So clearly this was something quite different to anything we'd ever seen before - absolutely amazing find. That meant it was fairly clear that we were dealing with something really of national importance."

There is some debate about the exact date of the coins, but experts estimate from about 50 BC right through to slightly beyond the Roman Conquest.

"The Iron Age people didn't have writing, but these are the first examples of letters or wording on anything, and they happen to be discovered on our coins."

The Roman cavalry parade helmet was lifted out of the site in a block of earth and is still being excavated in the British Museum conservation lab.

Peter hopes that the delicate metal will survive as he believes it is probably the best example in the country.

There is still much confusion over the area, but archaeologists believe it may have been a religious site with the coins being a offering to the gods.

See the exhibition

The Hallaton exhibition is open every weekend and bank holiday from 14:30 to 17:00, or by special arrangement.

The actual treasure will be on display in Harborough during September 2009.

There will also be a travelling exhibition at the Jewry Wall in Leicester during the archaeology festival in July.

Additionally Leicester University will be hosting a special lecture on the find on 27 June 2009.

To find out more contact the Hallaton Museum on 01858 555305.

last updated: 08/07/2009 at 14:40
created: 18/06/2009

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