Treasure hoards to go on display at city museum

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Derby Museums will be displaying several locally found coin hoards in Derbyshire Unearthed: Coins and Coin Hoards, the second part of an exhibition of treasure and other artefacts discovered by the public.

These hoards date from the Roman and medieval periods and the 19th century and have never been on public display before.

The main highlight of the exhibition will be a pair of very rare Roman gold coins that were discovered together near Ashbourne in 2007.

The coins were minted for the emperor Carausius, who broke away from the rest of the Roman Empire to rule his own ‘Britannic Empire’.

The coins were separately acquired by Derby Museums and the British Museum and are being brought back together for the first time especially for this exhibition. Also on display will be the Idridgehay Hoard, discovered in 2016 and recently acquired by Derby Museums. It comprises a group of early-19th century silver coins including three ‘Cromford Dollars’, re-stamped Spanish-American coins that were issued to workers at Cromford Mill.

Jonathan Wallis, head of museums at Derby Museums said: “We’re delighted to be displaying these two coins here in Derby for the first time. These are a unique record of the time when Carausius became the first emperor of Britain, unifying the country as an independent state for the first time.”

The exhibition celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Treasure Act which came into effect in September 1997. The passing of the Treasure Act led to the founding of the Portable Antiquities Scheme, a project to record objects found by the public in England and Wales.

Dr Sam Moorhead, national finds adviser for Iron Age and Roman coins at the British Museum said: “It is excellent to see the two gold coins of Carausius from Ashbourne together again – they are without doubt the most important Roman coins ever found in Derbyshire”

Alastair Willis, finds liaison officer for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire said: “Finds made by the public and recorded with the Portable Antiquities Scheme and through the Treasure Act contribute hugely to understanding of the past. This display of coins and coin hoards recognises this contribution.”

The exhibition runs from Saturday, February 10, to Sunday, April 22, at the Museum and Art Gallery, Derby.

Alongside the exhibition, there are a number of activities taking place at the Museum and Art Gallery:

Drawn Inspiration: Unearthed Treasure, Thursday March 22, 11am-12noon, Museum Art Gallery. £4: Adults /£2.50 Students. Please call 01332 641901 to book. Suitable for adults. All abilities welcome

Handling History: Roman Finds. Tuesday, March 27 to Tuesday, April 10. 10.30am-11am. Museum and Art Gallery. Free - donations welcome. Drop-in session. Suitable for all.

Talk: The Ashbourne Treasure, the emperor Carausius and the First Brexit. With Dr Sam Moorhead FSA: national finds adviser for Iron Age and Roman coins at the British Museum, Wednesday April 11, 2pm-3pm. Museum and Art Gallery

Sam Moorhead will discuss the discovery of gold coins at Ashbourne in 2007, one of the most important discoveries ever made relating to Britain’s very own emperor, Carausius, who broke away from the central Roman Empire in AD 286. This talk will provide the background to and history of the Carausian regime until its ultimate fall under the emperor Allectus in AD 296. It is a fascinating, but largely neglected, episode of British history which is further illuminated by the gold coins found in Derbyshire. £4: Adults/£2.50 Students and booking fee, Friends - FREE

To book, please go to

Suitable for over 16s and adults.

Easter Treasure Trail. From Saturday, March 24, to Sunday, April 7.

Museum and Art Gallery. This Easter follow a treasure trail around the Museum and you will be rewarded with some treasure of your own.

£1 per trail sheet, Suitable for all.