Norfolk medieval gold coin pendant 'a rare find'

A pendant made from an imitation of a gold solidus of Maurice Tiberius Image copyright PAS
Image caption The pendant was created from a Roman coin imitation

An early-medieval gold pendant created from an imitation of a Byzantine coin that was found in a Norfolk field is a "rare find", a museum expert has said.

Discovered on land at North Elmham, near Dereham, the circa 600 AD coin was created by French rulers of the time to increase their available currency.

Adrian Marsden, finds officer based at Norwich Castle Museum, said the object was probably buried with its owner.

The pendant was declared treasure by the Norfolk coroner on Wednesday.

Mr Marsden added: "This is an early copy of a Byzantine gold coin made in France.

"The Merovingians [French rulers] created copies of Byzantine coins from their bullion as there wasn't enough coinage coming in from the eastern Roman empire. How many of these copies were 'official' currency is hard to say."

Image copyright PAS
Image caption The bead, found in Witton, is well known in the design of 7th Century necklaces

The 23.5mm diameter pendant, created from an imitation of a gold solidus of emperor Maurice Tiberius (582-602 AD), features a suspension loop with three longitudinal ribs having been soldered to the edge of the coin immediately above the emperor's head.

"What's interesting is you have somebody in France copying a Byzantine coin which then also followed the trend of turning it into jewellery."

Mr Marsden said the coin was likely to have come to England as a result of export trade at the time.

"We see very few of these so it's an interesting find and one that we will hope to acquire for the Norwich Castle Museum collection."

Other items declared treasure at the coroner's inquest include an early-medieval Carolingian-style silver mount found in Barnham Broom, a hoard of 150 Roman coins discovered in Quidenham and an early-medieval biconical gold bead which would have been worn on high-status necklaces.

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