Treasure rules over coins and jewelry

A hoard of Roman coins found in a county field and a fragment of a gilded Tudor pin discovered near Raglan have been declared treasure.

Fourteen late Roman silver coins were discovered by probe Colin Price buried in a plowed field near Caerwent, site of a Roman city.

And the pin fragment find was unearthed with a metal detector by treasure hunter Darren Jessett on pasture land at Llantilio Crossenny between Monmouth and Abergavenny.

They were among three finds declared treasure last Thursday by Naomi Rees, Assistant Medical Examiner for Gwent, along with a medieval silver-gilt finger ring found in rough grassland in Rudry, Caerphilly.

The Tudor pin is a spherical head of a ball-pointed pin and has a twisted wire decoration forming four circles within a larger circle.

Only the upper half of the ball head survives and traces of a suture connected to the missing lower half are visible on the underside of the fragment.

The decorative style of the needle fragment points it to the 16th century.

The Abergavenny Museum has expressed interest in acquiring the pin for its collection after it was independently appraised by the Treasure Valuation Committee.

The hoard of late Roman silver coins was minted between AD 360 and AD 402, towards the end of the Roman occupation of Britain.

Alastair Willis, Senior Curator of Numismatics and the Welsh Economy at the National Museum Wales, which intends to acquire the coins for the National Roman Legion Museum in Caerleon, said: “The hoard is an unusual and important new find for Wales, the first hoard of pods have been discovered here and shed new light on events in and around Caerwent at the end of Roman rule in Britain.”

All coins have had their edges removed, a process known as clipping, which is generally believed to have occurred primarily from AD 407 to the mid-5th century.

The supply of coins to Great Britain ceased in 402, and the usurper Constantine III. took the remaining Roman legions to the continent five years later, leaving Britain vulnerable to Saxon, Scotti and Pict raids.

With no new coins or bullion coming from the continent, the edges of the silver coins were cut off, probably to be melted down and minted as new coins based on older official designs.

This hoard differs from most hoards of pods in Britain in that most of the coins predate AD 388, possibly indicating that the supply of silver coins to South Wales was restricted, perhaps for economic or political reasons.

The hoard is also notable for its two siliquas of Emperor Magnus Maximus, popularly associated with Macsen Wledig in the Mabinogion.

Considered the mythological founding father of the early Welsh kingdoms, he also features in Dafydd Ivan’s song Yma o Hyd, which has become a popular football anthem sung after Wales’ victory over Ukraine in FIFA World Cup qualifying in June.

The silver gold plated finger ring was discovered by Graham Carew in December 2020 during metal detection in a field under willow.

The ring has clasped hands at the base of the ring and a row of seven repeating capital letters S around the ring, once filled with black enamel, traces of which survive. These stylistic features allow the ring to be dated to the 15th or early 16th century.

dr Mark Redknap of the National Museum Wales said the ring imitated the S chain, signifying support of the Lancastrian dynasty during the Wars of the Roses, and the clasped hands signified allegiance.

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