Costain HS2 archaeologists uncover 300-coin Iron Age hoard

Aaron Morby 2 weeks ago
Share

Costain archaeologists have made a once-in-a-lifetime discovery on a HS2 project site that metal detecting treasure hunters can only dream about.

Potin coins from the Iron Age Hillingdon hoard
Potin coins from the Iron Age Hillingdon hoard

A rare hoard of over 300 Iron Age coins, dating back to the 1st century BC, was discovered at the Hillingdon project site in West London after storm water revealed the stash.

The Costain Skanska joint venture site was undergoing archaeological excavation when the hoard of early coins known as potins was uncovered. The term potin refers to the base metal silver-like alloy used in coins and is typically a mixture of copper, tin and lead.

Costain’s Emma Tetlow, working as Historic Environment Lead for HS2’s main works contractor Skanska Costain Strabag joint venture said: “We were coming to the end of our archaeological work on the site when we found a patch of soil that was a very different colour from what it would be expected to be.

“The patch of soil was dark greeny-blue which suggests oxidized metal, and when we checked more closely, we could see loosely packed metal discs.  This is a once in a lifetime find and allowed us to expand our knowledge of what life could have been like in Hillingdon many centuries ago.”

Known as the ‘Hillingdon hoard’, the find dates back to a period of change as the Romans began to establish themselves in Britain.

The potins are based on coins struck in Marseille, France, about 2,175 years ago. The use of these early coins spread across northern Europe.

In England, their use was commonly linked to Kent, Essex or Hertfordshire.

The value of the hoard has not yet been determined, nor has its future location.

Under the Treasure Act, the Coroner will determine whether the find constitutes ‘treasure’ and if a museum wishes to acquire the potins and recommendations for the find will be made and a potential value placed upon it.

The hoard was found during HS2 works on land that was occupied temporarily. HS2 is not making any claim on the hoard and under the Treasure Act archaeologists are not entitled to a share of any reward.

Duncan Wilson, Historic England Chief Executive, said: “They say money talks so what can this unexpected discovery tell us?

“It takes us back to the tumultuous time of Julius Caesar’s conquest of Gaul. Reaching Britain in 55 and 54 BC he observed the locals using ‘bronze’ coins, an innovation they had adopted not long before through cross-channel migration and trade.”

 

Latest news

Campaigners win court fight to block £1.7bn Stonehenge tunnel

High Court judge quashes development consent granted by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps
1 day ago

£350m Manchester twin skyscraper plan approved

Twin 56-storey residential towers to join Great Jackson Street cluster
2 days ago

Ballymore strikes deal for 2,800-home West London site

Partnership deal with Sainsbury's for 18-acre canalside site at Ladbroke Grove
1 day ago

Utilities firm Fulcrum plunges to £11.5m loss

Firm hit by second wave lockdowns delaying contract awards and mobilisations
1 day ago

Green light for £100m UK Holocaust Memorial building

Work to start later this year on large memorial building next to Parliament
1 day ago

Government pledges another £81m for cycle lanes

Highway Code to be revamped to prioritise cyclists
1 day ago

Long Scottish Covid lockdown cost Robertson £11.5m

Private building group plunged into £6.1m trading loss by 3 month lockdown
2 days ago

Funding deal green lights £40m modular student scheme

Financier Maslow Capital backs Audley Modular Student Living’s latest scheme in Edinburgh
1 day ago

North East contractor stops work on sites

Kapex Construction staff confirm they are no longer working for the company
2 days ago

Construction Manager of the Year finalists revealed

Full list of 77 of the industry's brightest talents
2 days ago

Record £860m pumped into 1,000 flood schemes this year

New six-year flood and coastal erosion investment plan commits to record £5.2bn spend
3 days ago

Forterra to spend £27m on high-end brick factory

Brick and block producer closes Bison precast site in face of margin pressure on 'grey concrete' products
2 days ago

Scottish retention reform plan put to Government

Government working group recommends ringfenced accounts and automatic retention release
2 days ago

Scaffolder hits overhead power line with pole

Contractor fined £333,333 after accident at commercial glasshouse site
2 days ago

Contractor hunt starts for Thames flood scheme

Contracts worth £275m up for grabs
3 days ago

CBRE pays £960m for 60% stake in Turner & Townsend

Deal values consultant at £1.6bn
4 days ago

Tetra Tech buys M&E consultant Hoare Lea

More than 900 staff to switch over to fast-growing US consulting group
3 days ago

Tideway breakthrough links all three tunnel sections

Key 75m connector tunnel breakthrough joins all tunnels for first time
3 days ago

Demolition and groundworks £1.6bn framework launched

Pagabo to hold webinar next month for interested companies: Register now
4 days ago

Go-ahead for £18m revamp of Army & Navy warehouse

Architect SPPARC redesigns historic Westminster site
3 days ago

Student rooms developer to strip HPL cladding from 22 buildings

Unite says cladding retrofit to cost £96m over next three years
4 days ago

House builders start to flesh out net-zero plan

Industry commits to first zero-carbon ready homes by 2025
4 days ago

John Sisk doubles cash pile to £62m despite profit fall

Profit almost halves to £2.8m as margin squeezed to 0.7% last year
4 days ago

Plans go in for £48m Derby arena

Construction set to start early next year
5 days ago

Costain to lead “electric road” trial for HGV charging

Electric lorries could be charged on the move by overhead power lines
4 days ago

Willmott Dixon gets go-ahead for Oldham secondary school

Work to start on £22m town centre school immediately
4 days ago

Mobile crane hirer Cadman joins vegetable oil revolution

Whole fleet to be converted to diesel alternative by end of this year
4 days ago

Go-ahead for 27-storey tower next to Shard

Edge London Bridge hailed as first of a new generation of office towers in London
5 days ago

Firms primed for £50m Hertfordshire police HQ

Contest to start in October for Welwyn Garden City blue light job
5 days ago

Construction to grow 6.3% next year as rebound persists

Infrastructure and private house building to continue to drive growth despite materials and labour shortages
5 days ago

Contractor services