Coins discovery ‘will re-write’ Anglo-Saxon history

Anglo-Saxon HoardThe Anglo-Saxon coins are said to point to some sort of an alliance in the 870s between Alfred the Great and a rival.

Historians say an entire chapter of the Anglo-Saxon period will have to be re-written after a metal detectorist found a huge hoard of coins in a field.

James Mather made the discovery of 200 complete silver coins, seven items of jewellery and 15 silver ingots in a field near Watlington in Oxfordshire in October 2015. Its full significance has now become apparent.

The find contained a mixture of extremely rare Anglo-Saxon coins and Viking silver, which provides a clearer understanding of the relationship between Alfred the Great, who ruled Wessex and his less well-known contemporary Ceolwulf II of Mercia.

Some of the coins were minted with a ‘Two Emperors’ design, borrowed from the Romans, which shows that the currency was used in both ancient kingdoms.

“This is an extraordinary find, one which re-writes Anglo-Saxon history,” Xa Sturgis, director of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, which now houses the coins, told Sky News.

“The keeper of the coin room here came running up the stairs to tell me. The more they were excavated the more it became obvious how significant they are. These coins point to some sort of an alliance in the 870s between Alfred and Ceolwulf.”

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