Frome Hoard

Frome Hoard

Dave Crisp in 2010 discovered 52503 Roman coins contained in a ceramic pot and dated to the period AD 253 to 293. Most of the coins are made from debased silver or bronze and weigh around 160kg. Of the total amount of coins found, 44245 were identifiable with the remainder classed as illegible. The discovery is the largest coin hoard found in Britain and the second largest treasure hoard. Yet, although they were found so close to Frome, there is no evidence that the town, despite its natural springs, was ever occupied by the Romans. There were villas in the locality but no community as such. The Frome hoard was buried on high ground which could be quite boggy after rain, suggesting a spring in the vicinity. This hoard was therefore probably a ritual deposit rather than a cache buried for recovery. The latest coins in the hoard were in fact halfway down the pot, so it was clear that the pot was placed in the ground and then filled from a selection of smaller containers – a local group making a communal offering.

Over 25 rulers are represented in the hoard, including several from a breakaway ‘Gallic’ Empire. The Frome Hoard was in 2017 declared the nation’s favourite Treasure find following a vote by readers of the Telegraph. Yet sadly, not one of the 52503 coins was allowed by the British Museum to be displayed permanently in Frome. This was for security and insurance purposes. We have to console ourselves with lots of documentary information and the occasional visit from Dave Crisp himself!