1000-year-old coin found in Bamburgh
BAMBURGH resident Julie Spruce found a well-preserved short cross penny in the village but dating it proved problematic until archaeologists turned to social media.
Within minutes, archaeologists from the Bamburgh Research Project had ascertained that the coin dated from the reign of William the Conqueror (1066-1087).
Archaeologist Gerald Twomey said: “I just happened to pop into Julie’s sandwich shop one day and she said she’d found this coin.”
Joanne Kirton, archaeology supervisor, added: “The coin is in quite good nick and it was very difficult to make out the name on the coin.
“But we did have good decoration on the cross section and the image of the king so we trawled the intenet looking for comparisons. We couldn’t find any so decided social media was a good outlet for getting responses from the general public.”
A picture of the coin was posted on Twitter which quickly attracted some encouraging feedback.
“We had a number of responses, one of which had a link to it which was not quite the same but from a similar time period,” said Joanne.
“About 10 minutes later one of our followers tweeted a link with exactly the same replica and another 10 minutes later someone went on the project blog so we were able to date the coin to the reign of William the Conqueror.”
Gerald revealed that although short cross pennies had been found in the area before, nothing dating from the reign of William the Conqueror had been discovered.
Joanne said: “What this illustrates is how useful social media can be for a project like ours when it comes to dating things. We could have spent all day on this and, indeed, we did spend a couple of hours scouring the internet trying to find out more about it but once we put it out there via social media we had answers to our question within 10 minutes.”
Gerald said: “The future of this coin is that we will take it to our antiquities officer and see what he recommends we should do with it. In all likelihood it will eventually get returned to Julie or the Bamburgh Heritage Trust.”
Julie, who runs The Pantry, believes it should go on display so everyone gets the chance to see it. “I found it in the village about three years ago, though I don’t want to say exactly where,” she said.
“I knew straight away that it was very old but was happy to have it properly dated.
“It was a fantastic find and amazing to think that I had a 1000-year-old coin in my hand.
“I’m told William the Conqueror never made it this far north himself but that his son, William Rufus, successfully seized the castle in 1095 so the coin might have come here then.”
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Weather for Berwick-Upon-Tweed
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 7 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: South west