Sunday, 26 April 2020

Roman Coins

In April 1845, a cache of roman coins was found at Little Gornhay. From Harding, vol. II (1847), on page 129:
In April 1845 while some workmen were sinking a drain on Little Gornhay, in an Orchard immediately behind the Farm house, occupied by Mr William Chapple, they discovered a large jar, about two feet below the surface, containing several hundred Roman coins. They were chiefly copper washed with silver, and a few of them entirely so, all evidently of the third century. The jar was broken to pieces. Several of these coins fortunately fell under the observation of Captain Shortt, who resides at Heavitree, better known perhaps as the author of "Collectanea Curiosa" and of Antiquities of Exeter; and a few are in my own possession. These chiefly were of Antoninus Pius, Severus, Alexander Severus, and Julia Augusta. Several of the washed or plated pieces are Quinarii; and most of the coins are of the debased currency, or Pecunia Majorina, which abounded in the age of Severus and his successors. They were generally in very good preservation.
The Journal of the British Archaeological Association from 1846 contains Captain Shortt's summary:
Captain Shortt, of Heavitree, Exeter, communicated some particulars of the discovery of several hundred denarii, plated and of billon, at Little Gornhay Farm, near Tiverton, most of which were unfortunately dispersed before he received information of the discovery. They were found in an orchard, in rather low ground, not above two feet below the surface, and had been deposited in a jar, which was broken to pieces. Mr W. Chapple, the tenant of the farm, succeeded in preserving specimens, which are of Commodus, Severus, Julia Domna, Caracalla, Elagabalus, Julia Soæmias, and Alexander Severus; among them are several quinarii. Captain Shortt also stated that he is now occupied in watching excavations in various parts of Exeter, and that several interesting discoveries had been made. On the site of a Roman bath in Queen-street, coins of Claudius, Nero, Gallienus, Salonina, Constantine, and Decentius, have been found, together with a large earthen vase, fragments of the red ware termed Samian, with figures of gladiators fighting; a large patera, with potter's impress, VERECVNDI; tiles impressed with concentric semicircles, and, adjoining the bath, an immense quantity of bones of oxen and sheep, and the entire skeleton of an ox. A sketch of a small bronze casket which has also been found, accompanied Captain Shortt's communication. 
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1 comment:

  1. There is a small hoard of Roman Bronze Coins in the Tiverton Museum, which was found with a metal detector roughly where Homebase is now before the Estate was built. This is also close to Little Gornhay.

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