A local hoard of Iron Age gold coins can now become a complete collection at Halesworth & District Museum thanks to support from the Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund. A £5,000 grant will support the purchase of 22 coins, which will take pride of place alongside 19 already purchased. All were found near Blythburgh, a village about 5 miles from Halesworth, and were probably buried around 25AD.
The Museum applied for the grant in early January, and received the offer of support a few days later. The volunteers are now busy raising further funds to meet the purchase price of £10,000. It is a condition of the grant that at least £500 of the cost is met by the Museum’s own funds or private donations.
Curator Brian Howard explains why having the full collection on display in the Museum is important for local history, and for the people of Halesworth:
‘These coins feature beautiful, mysterious images of animals, faces and seemingly abstract patterns. No one understands their significance. If they are housed in one location, historians will be able to study the collection as a whole, and perhaps shed light on why these detailed images were so important to our Iron Age predecessors. This opportunity would have been lost had the Blythburgh hoard been split up across regional, national and even private collections.’
`In addition, our Museum is already recognised for its work with young people in the area, and we hope to use the coins to help raise awareness of Iron Age history among local schoolchildren as well as the wider population.’
The good news comes at a time when Halesworth & District Museum is already expanding both its footprint and its displays. In 2022, the Museum acquired further rooms at Halesworth Station, to provide an additional display room, a volunteers’ area and a study room. The display and volunteers’ areas are designed flexibly, allowing the creation of a larger space for talks, readings and even small-scale drama presentations. New display cases are due in March, and Museum volunteers are already hard at work developing the first exhibits to occupy the extra space.
Find out more on the Halesworth & District Museum website.