Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Treasure hunter finds ancient coins

A hoard of medieval silver coins has been found buried in ground at Wellow, it was revealed this week.

The 16 silver pennies were found by an amateur treasure- hunter, using a metal detector, and are being examined by experts at the British Museum.

They have been pronounced treasure-trove, and are in the process of being acquired by the Roman Baths Museum.

They could later be mounted in a display at Radstock Museum.

Roman Baths and Pump Room manager Stephen Clews said that they dated from the 13th century.

They are Short Cross English coins with the exception of one Scottish coin.

Mr Clews said: "They were found with a metal detector used with the authority of the landowner, and were buried in the ground.

"They have been through the treasure-trove process, with expert opinion from the British Museum: the process is that the British Museum takes it if it wishes to, or offers it to an appropriate local museum.

"It will go to the Roman Baths Museum with a display mounted there.

"We are also talking to Radstock Museum about the prospect of putting on a display."

The coins' face falue was 12-and-a-half old pennies each, and the modern equivalent would be between £10 and £20 each.

"But they are an interesting find," said Mr Clews.

The exact location of the find is not being revealed.

V&A to begin work on £30m medieval and Renaissance galleries project

The Victoria and Albert Museum is to put its entire collection of medieval and Renaissance art into one continuous display for the first time, thanks to a £30 million project to improve its galleries.

One of the 10 new galleries will feature translucent onyx window screens, so the light falling on the religious artefacts shown will be just like that in medieval churches.

The galleries project is the biggest at the museum since 2001, when it launched a £31 million initiative to transform the British Galleries.

Over the next 12 months builders will get to work putting the plans by architects MUMA into practice.

The idea has been to utilise dead space on the South Kensington site and illuminate the vast collection with natural light where possible.

More than 1,800 objects, covering the period from 300 to 1,600, will be re-displayed.

Highlights from across the ages will include the Symmachi Panel, described by the V&A as "one of the finest surviving ivories from the Late Antique Period in Rome" dating from around 400AD; to "the largest and most splendid of the enamel caskets dedicated to St Thomas Becket", dating from about 1180; to the Boar and Bear Hunt tapestry, one of the only "great hunting tapestries to have survived from the 15th century."

There will also be an entire gallery dedicated to the work of the 15th century Italian sculptor, Donatello.

The Heritage Lottery Fund provided £9.75 million funding, while private donors funded much of the remainder.

Mark Jones, director of the V&A, said: "We hope that the new displays, featuring some of the most beautiful and historic objects from our collections, will inspire all our visitors."