Metal detectorist unearths largest Anglo-Saxon treasure hoard ever discovered in England

An Anglo-Saxon treasure hunt was discovered by a metal detectorist from West Norfolk, England. It contained 131 coins and four gold objects. According to the British Museum, most of the items were discovered over six years by one detectorist who wishes to remain anonymous.
The Evening Standard reported that David Cockle, a former police officer, found ten of the coins. He also used a metal detector. BBC News reports that Cockle kept the discovery secret and illegally sold the coins to make a profit of 15,000 British Pounds (roughly $20,000). At the sentencing, Judge Rupert Overbury stated that Cockle was charged with converting criminal properties and sentenced to 16 month imprisonment for "pure greed" after he was discovered by authorities. Cockle was also removed from the police force. Eight of the 10 coins that he had sold were recovered.

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According to CoinWeek, the majority of the coins are Frankish Tremisses, which are small sixth-century coins that typically contain between 85% and 95% gold. Nine coins are solidi. These larger Byzantine coins had three times the value as tremissis coins. According to the British Museum, the treasure also contains a pendant and a gold bar, as well as two other objects. Experts believe these items were part of larger jewelry pieces. It was probably buried around 600 A.D. before the unification.

These four objects in gold were also found together with the hoard. (Image credit: British Museum)

101 coins were the largest Anglo-Saxon coin collection in England. ARTnews reported that the trove was found in a purse at Crondall, Hampshire in 1828. Experts suspect that the original haul may have been greater as the purse was found to have been disturbed prior to its recovery. The treasures from East Anglia, England, where the Norfolk hoard was found, include the famous Sutton Hoo burial vessel, which contained 37 gold coins. This movie was made by Netflix.

According to The Guardian, the Norfolk coroner is currently looking into the treasure from West Norfolk to determine if it belongs to the British crown. The 1996 Treasure Act requires that treasure must be reported to the coroner within 14-days of being discovered. Although the official status is not yet known, it appears likely that the hoard will be accepted. According to Portable Antiquities Scheme, which is a joint program of Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum of Wales and the British Museum, "treasure" refers to any collection of metal objects or coins at least 300 years old, with a minimum of 10% silver or gold by weight. The find may be claimed by the British Monarchy and placed in the Norwich Castle Museum with support from the British Museum for the benefit of the public.

Gareth Williams of the British Museum's early medieval coins collection stated in a statement that "this is a very important find." It must be seen with other recent finds from East Anglia, and will transform our understanding about the economy of early Anglo-Saxon England.

Original publication on Live Science