Thetford Hoard

hoard of Romano-British metalwork

52°24′N 0°44′E / 52.400°N 0.733°E / 52.400; 0.733

Thetford Hoard
22 gold and jewelled rings in a display case
22 finger rings from the Thetford Hoard
Materialgold, silver, gems, shale
Size33 silver spoons
3 silver strainers
22 gold finger rings
4 gold bracelets
4 necklace pendants
5 gold chain necklaces
2 pairs of necklace-clasps
1 gold amulet
1 unmounted engraved gem
1 emerald bead
3 glass beads
1 gold belt-buckle
1 shale cylindrical box
DiscoveredGallows Hill, near Thetford, Norfolk, November 1979
Present locationBritish Museum
IdentificationP&E 1981 0201 1-83

The Thetford Hoard, or Thetford Treasure, is a hoard of Romano-British metalwork found at Gallows Hill, near Thetford in Norfolk, in November 1979. It is now in the British Museum.

Dating from the mid- to late-4th century AD, this hoard is a collection of thirty-three silver spoons and three silver strainers, twenty-two gold finger rings, four gold bracelets, four necklace pendants, five gold chain necklaces and two pairs of necklace-clasps, a gold amulet designed as a pendant, an unmounted engraved gem, four beads (one emerald and three of glass), and a gold belt-buckle decorated with a dancing satyr. A small cylindrical lidded box made from shale also belonged to the hoard.[1]



The find was made under unfortunate circumstances. The site had been recently cleared for building work, and the finder was using a metal-detector without the knowledge and permission of the owners of the site. The discovery was made late on a November day, in failing light. The finder recovered the material in great haste, probably overlooking some small items, because he knew he had no legal right to search in that area. He did not, as the law requires, report his discovery to the authorities. Instead, he unwisely attempted to sell the objects he had found to private buyers.

By the time archaeologists learned of the find several months later, the place had been built over, which made proper archaeological investigation impossible. It was not even possible to question the finder about the circumstances: by the time the material arrived at the British Museum for study, he was terminally ill, and he died about a month later, in July 1980.

There were persistent rumours that the treasure originally included coins, and probably the group as we see it now is incomplete. The full account of the circumstances of the discovery is told in the standard catalogue.[2]


  1. "Gold buckle from the Thetford treasure". British Museum. Archived from the original on 2010-12-16. Retrieved 2010-08-05.
  2. Johns, Catherine & Potter, Timothy 1983. The Thetford Treasure: Roman jewellery and silver. London: British Museum Press, 13–15. ISBN 0-7141-1372-7