A hoard of Anglo-Saxon coins discovered at Kirkby Stephen has been officially declared as treasure by the coroner’s office.
A team of archaeologists from Appleby’s Eden Heritage made an unexpected discovery last year while investigating possible prehistoric remains as part of an archaeological investigation at Kirkby Stephen.
While undertaking a routine metal detector survey in one of the trenches a small hammered coin was recovered.
This was identified as an Anglo-Saxon styca, which was a small coin minted in pre-Viking Northumbria.
Upon further investigation more coins were recovered from the same trench, indicating that they had quite by chance found the location of a coin hoard placed there 1,000 years earlier.
Martin Railton, the lead archaeologist, said that this find had been completely unexpected as they had been engaged by the landowner to investigate possible prehistoric remains associated with a nearby settlement.
To reveal an Anglo-Saxon hoard was the last thing they were expecting, and this was the first discovery of its kind for the Appleby-based company. Martin also thanked local metal detectorist, Malcolm Ridley, for assisting with the discovery.
In total, 35 hammered coins were recovered in various states of preservation due to erosion.
Several coins bore +EDILRED on the obverse, with a cross in the centre, relating to the Anglo-Saxon Kings of Northumbria, namely AEthelred the Second.
These types of coins remained in circulation until the Viking conquest.
Martin added that why they were buried at the site is unknown, but this was the second Anglo-Saxon hoard to be recovered from near Kirkby Stephen in recent years.
A remarkably similar hoard from Wharton was reported in the Herald earlier this year after being acquired by Penrith and Eden Museum.
Following an inquest at Cockermouth, the find was declared as treasure under the Treasure Act 1966.
An Anglo-Saxon specialist from the British Museum will now study the coins and assign a value before they are offered to a museum, with the reward then going to the landowner.