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Issue 318 – Fundraising event for Frome Hoard

YOU can help save the Frome Hoard for the Museum of Somerset at a special fundraising event at the Bishop’s Palace, Wells, on Wednesday 26th January at 4.30pm.

The event, organised by the Somerset Committee of the Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for works of art, will provide a unique opportunity to learn more about the astonishing find of over 52,000 Roman coins that were unearthed by metal detectorist Dave Crisp in April last year near Frome.
A selection of the 1,700 year old coins that were discovered buried in a tightly packed pot will be on display at the Bishop’s Palace and experts from the Museum of Somerset and the British Museum will discuss some of the fascinating theories about how the hoard came to be buried – and rediscovered.
Bookings for the event can be made via the Art Fund on 0844 415 4141 or through the website at www.artfund.org/frome. There is a suggested minimum donation of £15 to attend the event.
£320,250 is needed by 19th February to ensure that the coins are kept in Somerset at the newly re-furbished museum in Taunton when it re-opens, with an additional display of coins at the Frome Museum. So far, £75,000 has been raised.
The Art Fund kick-started the appeal with a £40,250 grant and for the first time, is offering match-funding to boost the appeal. For every £1 donated by a member of the public, the Art Fund will match-fund it up to a total value of £10,000, thereby boosting the appeal with up to a further £20,000.
Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund said, “This is our chance to help keep this extraordinary treasure on display in Somerset. The event in Wells is a great opportunity to find out first hand more about this incredible find and I very much hope it will help to raise significant funds towards the total needed. We need to save the hoard so that experts can carry out vital research – and so that new generations can enjoy and be inspired by it.”
Dave Crisp discovered the hoard on 11th April last year, while metal-detecting near Frome. The ‘Frome Hoard’ was declared treasure under the Treasure Act 1996 on 22nd July. The coins range from c. AD 253 to c. 293 and except for five silver coins, are all base-silver or bronze ‘radiate’ coins. Weighing 160 kilograms, it is one of the largest and most important hoards of coins of this period in Britain. There are still mysteries surrounding why it was buried.
Over 760 of the coins belong to the emperor Carausius, a general in the Roman army who usurped against the Central Empire. Carausius set up his own empire in northern Gaul and Britain, and this is the largest group of his coins found anywhere. The entire hoard includes coins minted by 21 emperors and three emperors’ wives.
Because the coins were excavated by layer, experts were able to detect that most of the latest coins (those of Carausius) had lain over half-way down the pot. This led to the conclusion that the hoard was almost certainly buried in one event. The pot could not have held 160kg of metal without breaking. It therefore must have been buried in the ground before the coins were tipped in from smaller containers.
In addition to the target £320,250 needed to acquire the hoard for Somerset, an additional £100,000 will be needed for its long-term conservation.
The first book on the Frome Hoard, written by experts Sam Moorhead, Roger Bland and Anna Booth, and published by the British Museum Press, is now available from www.britishmuseumshoponline.org. 50 pence of every sale will go towards the vital conservation costs. The Frome Hoard tells the remarkable story of the discovery of the hoard, describes the fascinating collection of coins it contains and offers an initial interpretation of the treasure, and its significance. Close-up photographs show intricate details of the amazing coins.
How to donate
To donate towards the appeal please go to www.artfund.org/frome, call 0844 415 4141 or post a cheque made payable to the Art Fund to: The Art Fund, Freepost SN1457, Halifax Road, MELKSHAM, SN12 7BR. Every public donation will be match-funded by the Art Fund, up to a total of £10,000.

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