Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Byzantine and Merovingian gold coin hoard from Norfolk

The BBC News site has a report about a major discovery in west Norfolk of gold coins from the era of the Sutton Hoo burial. It has been suggested that lthe coins were in a purse at Sutton Hoo and that later ploughing disturbed and scattered them. 

The explanation is that they were a hoard of bullion brought together in Merovingian France, with some more travellef pieces from Byzantium which then ended up in the East Anglian kingdom either through trade or other contact. As such it is a further reminder of the connections that bound the territories of western Europe together in the seventh and early eighth centuries, as well as their links further afield. It is also an indicator of the wealth that circulated around the North Sea littoral in that period.

It is very much to be deplored that another metal detectorist - a policeman in fact - found and made off with ten of the coins from the site and sold them. For that he has very properly gone to prison and lost his job, but some of the coins have not been recovered.

It gave me added interest in the story of the find - fascinating as the discovery is - that the numismatist at the Norwich Castle museum who worked on the identification of the coins is an old Oxford friend, Dr Adrian Marsden.

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