Claire Donithorn BA, resident archaeologist at the museum said, "These will be our first significant Iron Age exhibits. They date from precisely the time when Britain emerged from Prehistoric to Historic Times. Our aim now is to keep the hoard together and to ensure that it stays in the Valley
for us and for future generations.”
Experts in the British Museum examined the coins and identified them. The Eden Valley Museum was then offered the chance to buy them. The Museum leapt at the opportunity. Claire Donithorn said, “These coins are an important part of the history of the Eden Valley. They show that the Valley was connected to great events in European History – the Gallic Wars. Whoever buried them may have been involved in those wars and was probably living here in the Valley."
The coins date from the Late Iron Age, about the time of Caesar’s Invasions of Britain. They were manufactured in the region of Amiens in Northern France and are thought to be of a type struck by the local tribes to finance their resistance to the invading Romans.
At this time both South East England and France were occupied by Celtic tribes who were closely connected by trade and family alliances. Celts from England fought with the Celts in France. It is likely that the coins found their way back to Kent as the pay or booty of soldiers. Then, for reasons
we can only guess at, they were buried and remained in the ground for over two thousand years until a metal detectorist discovered them.
The coins are Gallo-Belgic staters dating from between c60 to c50 BC. They were struck by the Ambiani Tribe in what is now Northern France. The reverse of the coins shows a stylised horse whilst the obverse is blank. It is thought that the obverse, which would normally show the head of the local ruler, was left blank precisely because the coins were minted by an alliance of Gallic tribes uniting to fight Julius Caesar.
Caesar invaded Gaul in 58 BC and after several years of fighting, effectively conquered Gaul by 51 BC. During this time he made his two incursions into Britain landing, it is now thought, at Pegwell Bay in 55 and 54 BC. All these campaigns were chronicled by Caesar in his "Gallic Wars".
Precious goods appear to have been buried by Prehistoric peoples in Britain. It is suggested that they were buried as offerings to gods, perhaps to seal some important event. Alternatively it could be that they were simply hidden for safety.