Yesterday (3rd September), Fenwick Ltd and the Trust issued a joint press release to reveal our recent find of buried Roman treasure at Colchester. We discovered the hoard of gold and silver jewellery, including the remains of a wooden jewellery box, during the last few days of our excavation at the Williams & Griffin store in the High Street. The store is owned by Fenwick Ltd, who funded our excavation there ahead of its refurbishment, and the hoard has already been named ‘the Fenwick treasure’. The Roman archaeology of Colchester is remarkable, but the hoard is really special – it isn’t just a collection of precious metals, in the form of fine Roman jewellery, but it is also the first Roman jewellery hoard ever found in Colchester town centre. It tells a fascinating story, as well, as it was buried under the floor of a house during the Boudican revolt of AD 61, just before the Roman inhabitants of the town were massacred by the native Britons and the town burned to the ground. The treasure lay safely buried for nearly 2,000 years, until we found it…
Yesterday, for one day only, the treasure was brought to Roman Circus House – accompanied by three security guards – and sat in state on the conference table in our office, where it received a succession of press photographers and reporters, plus a few special visitors who were allowed in to admire it. We also laid out some of our other finds from the Williams & Griffin store on the table, such as some of the carbonised foods and the human bones, both found near the hoard and within the Boudican destruction layer. Trust director Philip and Trust archaeologists Adam Wightman and Emma Holloway gave several interviews and were also subjected to filming. The treasure rightly created a huge amount of interest, locally and nationally, and we dealt with considerable email and telephone traffic throughout the day.
Yesterday, the first reports on the treasure were published online and also, in the evening, broadcast on the BBC TV ‘Look East’ news. More reports have been published today, both online and in the press. There has been a lot of interest in our web-site post on the treasure and also on Facebook and Twitter. You can read items about the treasure online at the East Anglian Daily Times, the Daily Mail, BBC news, The Telegraph, the US archaeology.com, Heart Radio and the Colchester Gazette, and in the press in The Times and in The Daily Telegraph. Online items are also being cross-posted, for example, at uk.news.yahoo.com .
The treasure is now held in a secure conservation laboratory, where investigation of the items will continue before they are conserved. The future of the treasure is also secure, as Fenwick Ltd will gift the treasure to Colchester Castle Museum for display.
The images show the treasure on our conference table and Trust director Philip being remotely interviewed by the BBC in our office, yesterday.
UPDATE: Today (5th September), an item on the treasure was posted on the US NBC News web-site.