Roman Treasure: The Plumbley Hoard

Mar 09 2015

Lucy Creighton, Curatorial Assistant – Archaeology at Museums Sheffield, on one of the latest addition to the city’s archaeology collection.

Museums Sheffield cares for a significant and diverse archaeology collection and it’s one that is constantly growing. We receive objects in various ways, often through public donations but also through the deposition of archaeological archives associated with recent commercial development in the city. Some of our most special recent arrivals are the five small silver coins that you can see above. The coins are Roman, dating from between approximately 211 BC and 74 AD, and are of a type called denarii.

The coins were found in the parish of Plumbley, south east of Sheffield, in 2012 by someone using a metal detector. Because they were found together, and because of their age and precious metal content, they were classed as a ‘hoard’, a collection of valuable objects or artefacts’ and qualified as Treasure under the Treasure Act. This act aims to protect important archaeological finds and keep them in the public domain rather than losing them to private collectors on the antiquities market. People who find Treasure must legally report it to a coroner and local museums are then given the chance to acquire the objects.

Thanks to the Treasure Act, Museums Sheffield was notified of this discovery and we were able to acquire the hoard for the city’s collections, filling a key gap in our representation of the history of the local area. Coins dating from the Roman Republican period – the period before the Roman Empire (509 BC – 27 BC) – are uncommon in the county. This, in fact, is the first Republican hoard to ever be found in South Yorkshire.

The Plumbley hoard can be found displayed alongside other Roman coin hoards in Sheffield’s collection – including the High Green Hoard of more than 730 radiate coins found by metal detector in 2001 and several denarii hoards discovered in the 19th and early 20th centuries – in our temporary display Traces of Empire: Decoration and Design in Roman Britain.

Interested in finding out more about Roman coins? Join Andrew Woods, Curator of Numismatics at York Museums Trust, for a free lunchtime talk Thursday 12 March to hear why coins are buried and what they can tell us about life and wealth in Roman Britain.


Examples from The Plumbley Hoard. Image courtesy of the Portable Antiquities Scheme. 

The Traces of Empire display was made possible with support from the Art Fund and Headley Trust.

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