Museum Musings – July 2021

At West Berkshire Museum we have a whole display dedicated to detected and chance finds. Mostly this is made up of hoards.

West Berkshire Museum hoards display. Author’s own.

However, we also have on display finds acquired by, and donated or loaned to the museum.

West Berkshire Museum metal detected finds. Author’s own.

Here are just a few of those finds on the PAS database.

The first is a gilded medieval silver halfpenny of Richard II (AD 1377-1399); Withers Type I (North 1331b); mint: London.
The coin is now broken in two and probably folded in half prior to breaking. The coin has been gilded and its use has therefore been altered, possibly for a token or keepsake and therefore would qualify as Treasure under the stipulations of the Act. There is no evidence for a mount or of attempts at piercing, which suggests that the object was not intended to be a pendant. Interestingly another example of a gilded Richard II halfpenny has been recorded on this database (ESS-6429D2) which may hint at a practice associated with this ruler’s coinage. North N1331/1332.


The next is an incomplete post Medieval copper alloy sword-belt hanger dating to c.16th – 17th century. The object comprises three asymmetrical plates suspended from an upper plate or mount. The upper mount is formed of two joined sub-triangular plates which bends outwards in the centre at an acute angle. The two joined plates have tri-lobed terminals. Where the two plated are joined the upper section narrows then widens to from a central projecting triangular point. The plate is decorated with a foliate and floriate moulded-relief. There are three rivet-holes, one at either end pierced in the central projecting lobe, and one in the centre where the two plates are joined. The rivet-hole on the right end has iron residue from an iron rivet which partly survives in place. Attached to the lower end of the plate there are three projecting circular suspension loops. Suspended from each loop is an asymmetrical plate with a forward-facing close-butted globular-ended hook. These plates are decorated with a similar foliate ‘vine scroll’ moulded-relief. Each plate has two rivet-holes. Traces of iron residue remain in both rivet-holes of the central suspended plate, and in the lower rivet-hole of the right suspended plate. The right suspended plate in slightly bent inwards due to damage. 

Finally is a silver clothing stud comprising two discs, one flat and one hollow-backed, joined by a short length of circular-section silver rod. The hollow disc has sloping sides and is stamped with the design of two hearts below a crown, set within a punched field. The backing circle is stamped with an indistinct maker’s mark IB or TB.


You can see all these finds and more at West Berkshire Museum