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Thursday, 28 June 2012

Inquest into the discovery of a 17th Century Coin Hoard from Bitterley, South Shropshire


An important coin hoard from the English Civil War has been declared treasure today by Mr. John Ellery, H.M. Coroner for Shropshire. The hoard was discovered by a metal detector user in February 2011.

The hoard was found by Howard Murphy who discovered it on farmland in the Bitterley Area, South Shropshire. Mr Murphy, an experienced metal detectorist, realised that he had found an important find when he revealed the top of a pottery vessel which was filled with silver coins. He knew that he had made a significant discovery and so resisted the temptation to dig the find up himself and instead reported it to Peter Reavill his local Finds Liaison Officer, based with Shropshire Museums. Peter Reavill, who works closely with the metal detecting community in the Marches, organised a rescue excavation to investigate the find and


its surrounding coins. These were carefully removed to see if there was any internal stratigraphy (layering / order). When the coins had been taken out a very fine grained leather purse could be seen lining the inside of the vessel. Leather items like this very rarely survive, especially when buried in the ground, and if the finder had attempted to lift the hoard and remove the coins himself then it is likely that much of this fragile material would have been lost.

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