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Two metal detector enthusiasts have uncovered Europe’s largest hoard of Iron Age coins worth up to £10 million – after searching for more than 30 years.
Determined Reg Mead and Richard Miles spent decades searching a field in Jersey after hearing rumours that a farmer had discovered silver coins while working on his land.
They eventually struck gold and uncovered between 30,000 and 50,000 coins, which date from the 1st Century BC and have lain buried for 2,000 years.
The Roman and Celtic silver and gold coins were entombed under a hedge in a large mound of clay, weighing three quarters of a ton and measuring 140 x 80 x 20cm.
Experts predict they are of Armorican origin – modern day Brittany and Normandy – from a tribe called the Coriosolitae who were based in the modern-day area of St Malo and Dinan.
They have dated the coins from 50BC, the Late Iron Age, and believe they would have been buried underground to be kept safe from Julius Caesar’s campaigns.
This is because the armies of Caesar were advancing north-westwards to France at the time, driving tribal communities towards the coasts.
Some would have fled across the sea to Jersey, finding a place of refuge away from Caesar’s troops.
The only safe way to store their wealth was to bury it in a secret place. Dr Philip de Jersey, a former Celtic coin expert at Oxford University, said each individual coin in the ‘extremely exciting’ find was worth between £100 and £200.