Jersey's Celtic coins

An important discovery of Celtic and Roman coins dating back to the first century BC has been unearthed in Jersey. The gold and silver coins, which appear in good condition and which were found stuck together in the soil, could be worth £10 million. It is not yet known exactly how many there are but maybe as many as 50,000. The last substantial find of Celtic coins in Jersey was in 1935, when 11,000 were discovered.

It is thought that it may be one of the largest discoveries in Europe of Celtic coins of that period and the site, which has not been named, is being protected.

The two metal diggers who made the discovery have been searching for the coins for years and they called in the Jersey Heritage experts last week when they realised that they had struck a large find. Their co-operation from the outset has meant that coin specialists from Guernsey and the UK are now able to examine the site for important circumstantial details to help in piecing together the history of the find.

Jersey was an island within the Celtic world that stretched across northern and western Europe during the Iron Age. It was also on the north-western fringe of Roman-occupied Gaul in the first century BC and there are traces of Roman settlements in the Channel Islands.

There have been numerous finds of Iron Age coins in various locations throughout Jersey in the last 300 years. This indicates that the small island was an important trading post between southwest England and what is now Brittany in France. But such a large hoard could also mean the island was involved in financing resistance to Julius Caesar’s invasion of Gaul from 58-52 BC.

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