Norfolk wolf coins unearthed in treasure find

Iron Age Norfolk wolf stater The Iron Age Norfolk wolf coins could be part of a much larger hoard, experts believe

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An "unusual" hoard of 44 Norfolk wolf coins produced in the latter stages of the 1st Century and found in south Norfolk have been declared treasure.

The Iron Age coins, about the size of a thick modern penny, were minted by the Iceni tribe whose territories covered much of East Anglia.

Museum finds officer Adrian Marsden said the coins probably belonged to "a member of tribal hierarchy".

The Norwich Castle Museum hopes to acquire them for its collection.

"This number of coins is unusual," Mr Marsden said. "We did have a hoard of 82 from north-west Norfolk in the 1980s but 44 is certainly sizeable and more may turn up.

Post-medieval gold mourning ring The mourning ring marks the life of Hugh Audley, believe experts

"Although these aren't the bright yellow gold of earlier Norfolk wolf staters (coins) they would have represented a fair amount of wealth... the person who buried these would have been someone of account.

"These coins get debased over time, so you get bright yellow buttery gold ones, then years later ones that are more coppery with a bit of silver," he added.

The Norfolk wolf coins were among a number of treasure items found by metal-detecting enthusiasts, featured at the Norfolk Coroner's Court.

Samuel Pepys' diary

Samuel Pepys

23 November 1662

I hear to-day how old rich Audley is lately dead, and left a very great estate, and made a great many poor familys rich, not all to one.

The coroner also ruled on a gold mourning ring created to mark the passing of prominent money lender and Buckenham landowner Hugh Audley.

Measuring 23mm across the external diameter it features a stylised skull and black enamel, and was found in Carleton Rode.

"This one is interesting as we know who the chap is as he's mentioned in Samuel Pepys' diaries," said Mr Marsden.

"His name is inscribed on the inside of the band and we believe Audley's will gave instruction for the making of a few of these rings.

"We know that Audley was a very wealthy man so he could afford to have had quite a few of these dished out, probably a dozen or two."

"They were a way of marking your mourning and showing people you were bereaved."

Other items at the inquest included a hawking vervel from a "royal" hunt, a hoard of silver pennies from Edmund of East Anglia's reign and two sliver strap-ends, used for fastening clothes.

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