Scotland’s largest medieval coin hoard in 200 years found by metal detectorists

Thousands of coins dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries were discovered by metal detectorists buried near Dunscore.

A spokesperson for the Treasure Trove Unit – which is responsible for logging new archaeological finds and preserving them for the public good – said it is one of the largest medieval coin hoards found in Scotland since the 19th century.

You are reading: Scotland’s largest medieval coin hoard in 200 years found by metal detectorists

The discovery contains a mixture of Scottish, English, Irish and continental silver. The majority of the 8,407 coins are Edward I and II pennies and are believed to be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

An archaeology expert said: “This is an absolutely amazing find. After the initial discovery, the site was excavated by Treasure Trove Unit officials along with National Museums Scotland archaeologists.

“Now each coin is being catalogued. This requires identifying, photographing, measuring and weighing each one.”

The Dunscore hoard is made up of primarily Edward I and II pennies, dating back to the 13th and 14th Century, like these pictured
The Dunscore hoard is made up of primarily Edward I and II pennies, dating back to the 13th and 14th Century, like these pictured (Image: D&G Standard)

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Under Scottish law, any newly-discovered artefact believed to be of archaeological significance — whether made from precious metals or not — technically belongs to the Crown and must be reported to the authorities.

The Crown, however, does not always exercise its claim. The decision is made by the King’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer based on the advice of the Scottish Archaeological Finds Allocation Panel.

When a claim is exercised, a payment, known as an “ex gratia award”, is given to the finder.

Colin Mitchell of Dunscore Heritage Centre said he is “delighted” the hoard has been found in the area and that he would welcome the opportunity to display some of it in the village.

Dunscore Village is situated near Dumfries
Dunscore Village is situated near Dumfries (Image: Dumfries and Galloway Standard)

He added: “We are aware of many ancient local sites nearby and now wonder what other treasures are buried in the surrounding area.”

The Dunscore find comes eight years after the Galloway Hoard of more than 100 objects from around AD 900 was unearthed at Balmaghie in 2014.

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It included items of silver, gold and jewelled treasures as well as rarely surviving textiles, including wool, linen and Scotland’s earliest examples of silk. It has been regarded as the finest collection of Viking Age objects ever found in Britain and was valued at nearly £2 million.

It was also discovered by a metal detectorist and in 2017, was allocated to National Museums Scotland, when a selection of the items went on display as part of successful fundraising campaign supported by the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Art Fund to save it for the nation.

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