Yorkshire Hoards : 3000 BC – 1643




This recent article about Yorkshire coin hoards was published on the Culture24 website. The online collaboration by the York Museums Trust and Google gives us an insight into the collections that is not immediately apparent even if you are able to visit the museums in person.


Andrew Woods, Curator of Numismatics for York Museums Trust, on the Yorkshire Museum’s collection of Yorkshire Hoards going global with Google


“The numismatic collection – money and medals – numbers over 40,000 objects and is one of the strongest in northern England.

Most of that material has been excavated with new finds coming up every year from farmers, metal detectorists and archaeologists.

A lot of that excavated material comes in the form of hoards – accumulations of wealth buried in the ground.

Yorkshire Hoards is a project between Google Cultural Institute and York Museums Trust looking at these hoards and what they can tell us about the history of the region.

Over the past 3,000 years, from the Bronze Age through to the 17th century, very large numbers of hoards have gone into the ground across Yorkshire.

These represented the safest way to store your wealth in a period before there were banks: ‘I know where I buried it, I can go and dig it up again at some point in the future.’

Quite why they all went into the ground is slightly more difficult. Some went into the ground, in all probability, because of unrest – times where there’s warfare see lots of hoards go into the ground.

Others may have more to do with offerings or rituals to the gods, that type of thing. The last type would be savings, gradually added to over many years.

The potential of these hoards is enormous – they can tell us about power, about belief, about ritual, all about the local and international links of the person who buried them.

“In short, they give us a window into the range of different periods across the region.”


Roman arm purse: A copper alloy arm purse. The lid is missing and there is some damage around the opening. The purse is decorated with incised and geometric decoration. © York Museums Trust


“A regular legionary in the Roman was paid 300 denarii per year. From this figure he had to buy all of the clothing, equipment and food that he would need for the year.

This meant that there was little spare money for each soldier and that every coin was worth a lot.

Soldiers took care not to lose their pay and this arm purse found at Tadcaster shows the concern they had for safety.

Coins were concealed inside the band which could only be opened by its wearer. The four coins found inside were enough to buy a fine pair of boots or imported luxuries such as olive oil.”


To view the Google Cultural Institute online exhibit, see:


3000 BC – 1643 Yorkshire Hoards


To read the complete article, see:


Curator’s Choice: The Yorkshire archaeology Hoards which are going global with Google