A Remarkable Discovery

You may have already seen in the news that Buxton Museum now has the Reynard’s Kitchen Cave Coin Hoard on display so there has never been a better time to pay us a visit.

In case you’ve missed all the excitement, the initial discovery of four coins was made by a member of the public, which led the National Trust to carry out a full excavation of the cave in Dovedale, a tourist hotspot on the border of Derbyshire and Staffordshire. In total, twenty six coins, including three Roman coins which pre-date the invasion of Britain in AD 43, were unearthed.

Reynard's Kitchen Cave, Dovedale. Collection of Buxton Museum and Art Gallery.

Reynard’s Kitchen Cave, Dovedale. Collection of Buxton Museum and Art Gallery.

The hoard consists of both Late Iron Age and Republican Roman coins, the first time coins of these two origins are thought to have been found buried together in a cave in Britain. The discovery is significant. Not only is it unusual to find Late Iron Age gold coins, but to unearth them actually within a cave setting adds to the mystery surrounding them.

Twenty of the coins are Late Iron Age and attributed to the Corieltavi tribe. These people lived further east of Dovedale in the modern Midlands. They were probably farmers, and came together for mutual benefit. Their tribal centres are thought to be Sleaford and Lincoln, and later in Roman times, Leicester.

The excavation was led by University of Leicester Archaeology Service and undertaken by Operation Nightingale which provides recuperation for field archaeology to for service personnel injured in recent conflicts. The coins were then sent to be studied at the British Museum before being  cleaned by conservators at the Institute of Archaeology at University College, London.


Late Iron Age gold coin front Photograph by Richard Davenport

Late Iron Age gold coin front
Photograph by Richard Davenport

Another special mention this week to Derbyshire Museums Manager, Ros Westwood, who has been awarded Fellowship of the Museums Association from the President of the Museums Association, David Anderson at the recent Museums Association conference in Cardiff. Well done, Ros!

RWestwood (800x571)


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