The National Museum of Antiquities has purchased an exceptional hoard of silver coins from the early Middle Ages. The seventy early medieval silver coins were found near Cothen, in the province of Utrecht, in 2011, and date from around AD 730.

One gram apiece

The coins were discovered by two amateur archaeologists who searched the clayey soil of a recently grubbed field with a metal detector. The coins weight approximately one gram each. The hoard consists of 61 Frisian sceattas of the porcupine variety and 9 French denarii. In the Middle Ages, their combined value was about equal to that of a cow, a lance, or a shield. The money was probably deliberately buried in a place that would be easy to find. The site is about 150 metres from a road that was already in use in Roman times.

Hoard of coins to form centrepiece of Golden Middle Ages exhibition

After examination in the Money Museum (Utrecht) and restoration by Archeoplan (Delft), the coins were purchased in late 2012 for the medieval collection of the National Museum of Antiquities. In the summer of 2014, the hoardforms the crowning element of the exhibition Golden Middle Ages, about the Netherlands in Merovingian times (AD 400700).