Monday, 15 October 2012

Focus on UK Metal Detecting: STOP Jethro and Dave selling Stash to Collectors

Public fundraising is underway for something obviously a lot of people feel strongly about (Nigel Slater, 'Time ticking to keep Roman coins in county', Evesham Observer October 4th 2012). They are trying to STOP two metal detectorists, together with a compliant landowner, selling the assemblage of archaeological material they found to collectors. This hoard ("the largest haul of treasure ever found in the county, [...]  a stash of almost 4,000 Roman coins) was discovered on an archaeological site with preserved stratigraphy on Bredon Hill by Redditch man Jethro Carpenter and his detecting mate Mark Gilmour. The  little bit of narrativisation which is de rigeur in archaeology accounts for the media is as follows:
Research undertaken by Worcestershire Archaeology and Archives Service, with the British Museum, indicates the hoard was buried nearly a century after it was accumulated – the only known such British example.
So, "must-display-jolly-important" then. Meanwhile readers might like to look at this helpful depiction of the stratification the searchers of such hoards dig down through. The pot was buried well below modern plough level in undisturbed archaeological layers. Note the second layer down was formed gradually between c. 400 AD right up until the 1980s. That hoard could have remained there, safely sealed in its archaeological context well below plough level for generations yet, but along came some treasure hunters, located it and started to dig it up. This then necessitated mounting a reactive rescue excavation and now an expensive project of conserving and documenting the assemblage, followed by the expense of a full publication. And on top of that the finders want a reward for beiong the cause of all this trouble.   

Museums Worcestershire has been working hard to raise the cash to acquire the coins and the county has just two months left to raise the £40,000 needed. Locals feel that it is "vitally important that the hoard stays in Worcestershire".

Read more here:
'Dreams come true for treasure hunters on Bredon Hill'  Evesham Journal. 21 October 2011

'Large Roman coin hoard uncovered at Bredon Hill', BBC News. 17 October 2011.
'Coroner rules on Roman coin hoard found at Bredon Hill', BBC News. 16 November 2011
Henry, R., 'The Bredon Hill Hoard: The process from discovery to present', Portable Antiquities Scheme Blog - 21 October 2011.
'The Bredon Hill Roman Coin Hoard',  Worcestershire Hub Online.

Readers can make a donation to Jethro and Dave's reward by visiting or by visiting the Museums Worcestershire at

On the other hand, they can write to their MP and ask when Britain's loopy Treasure legislation is going to be overhauled to ensure that it is not encouraging the damaging of more and more archaeological sites like the one searched on historic Bredon Hill.

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