Jersey Hoard’s Day of Archaeolo-YAY

A lot has changed since our last Day of Archaeology entry. Firstly, we’ve moved location! This time last year the coin hoard exhibition and lab were based at Jersey Museum, but to pave way for the new Ice Age exhibition the coin hoard moved up to La Hougue Bie Museum (just kilometres away from where the hoard was found)!

We've moved!

We’ve moved!

Secondly, we’ve now removed over 51,000 coins Here’s what the hoard looks like now…

It's shrinking!

It’s shrinking!

Friday 29th was a special day on the hoard! Last week we found patches of textiles in a small section of the hoard. Careful coin removal around this location revealed multiple bracelets and other small scrap pieces of metal and gold, and what we believe is the remains of a textile bag. We took our time carefully removing all of the coins from around the object to enable us to carry out our first block lift! Yesterday morning the time had come.  I’m pleased to report that the lift itself went very well! The object is now out of the hoard in one piece and it all went very smoothly. (There’s a short video of the removal on the Jersey Heritage FB page), but here’s a picture of Neil looking excited for the lift!

Ready to lift!

Ready to lift!

After this was completed, we went about a normal day on the coin hoard project and began removing the coins one at a time from a different section of the coin mass. Each coin is recorded using a metrology arm, allowing the precise location of each coin to be recorded creating a 3D map. The grid you can see in one of the images below is our backup system (each coin is also given a letter and number reference of its location within the hoard, in case any of the 3d data is lost – this hasn’t happened so far though!).

Scanning a coin, including grid!

Scanning a coin, including grid!

Georgia scanning the next coin for removal!

Georgia scanning the next coin for removal!

The 3D coin map of the afternoons work!

The 3D coin map of the afternoons work!

We also had some of our amazing volunteers in yesterday afternoon helping us to record and identify all of the coins. Below is Richard (one of the men who originally found the hoard), looking excited with the latest gold coin he was identifying, and also Liz who is helping to input all of the coin information into our database. We have around 20 volunteers helping us on the project throughout the week now, and I think the team would agree with me when I say that there is no way we would be this far into the project without them! A massive thank you to each and every one of them for helping to make the Coin Crew and the project what it has become!

Liz databasing our coins! Only another 26,000 to go Liz!

Liz databasing our coins! Only another 26,000 to go Liz!

 

richard

Richard and our newest gold coin!

Every Friday the team publish a Find Friday post on social media, telling the public about our latest finds and coin hoard adventures. As we filmed the block lift that morning we decided it would be awesome to share that side of the process with the public. A quick video edit later (after waiting 6 hours for the video to render – why are museum internet connections so prehistoric?) it was ready to post!

Day 245 in the Coin Hoard House, and the team are STILL waiting for the video to load!

Day 245 in the Coin Hoard House, and the team are STILL waiting for the video to load!

After all this excitement the team still weren’t finished with their day. La Hougue Bie had been included in Jersey’s contribution to the Festival of Archaeology, which meant our site had extended its opening hours until 7pm to allow members of the public who wouldn’t normally get the opportunity, to have a look around! The car park was full at 5pm, and we are so grateful that people took the time to come and engage with the site and also with our project! (We were having to much fun to take any pictures!)

That concludes our whirlwind day of archaeolo-YAY! But I’ll leave you with this throwback to our last Day of Archaeology post.

Georgia, Neil and I ... Not much has changed!

Georgia, Neil and I … Not much has changed!


Under the archway, Through the little blue door, Up the stairwell, To the exhibition floor

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Welcome to our Laboratory! No two days are the same on the coin hoard project, it’s all part of the fun; but here’s what we got up too on our day of archaeology.

Wednesday mornings always start the same, with an 8.30 meeting between the conservation team, our curator of archaeology, our museum’s registrar and our director of archives discussing the previous weeks work and any upcoming plans for the coin hoard.

Some of the team deep in discussion about the project

Some of the team deep in discussion about the project

Usually after these meetings Georgia and I will head back to the lab to start the day’s coin removal process. We’re using a Faro metrology arm to record each coins position on the hoard mass to produce a 3D map that can eventually be linked to our database. It’s hoped this can help research in the future. It also produces laser scans that can have photographs superimposed and could even be 3D printed. It’s quite exciting stuff and we always look forward to seeing how many coins we’ll be able to remove that day.

However, this particular Wednesday we were scanner-less! Not to panic, it’s gone on a little holiday to Germany for its yearly service and should be back with us soon.

Our sad little scannerless tripod

Our sad little scannerless tripod

This Wednesday was also slightly different from normal as we had a 9 am visit from the South Korean Ambassador. We offer these tours a lot now as the coin hoard project has become on of the things that visiting dignitaries to the island likes to see. It’s a chance for them to come behind the glass and enter the laboratory to see behind the scenes all of the work that is being undertaken to conserve the hoard.

The rest of the day was spent with conservation technicians and volunteers working on finished coins. This involves an array of tasks including; using a vibrating tip tool to remove excess corrosion,  dry brushing the coins to remove any dust, writing up their final bags with object number and grid reference, inputting onto the database and photography.

Conservation Technician Georgia and one of our volunteers putting the coins on the database and writing their final bags

Conservation Technician Georgia and one of our volunteers putting the coins on the database and writing their final bags

Additionally, our museum registrar, Val, and I are working on putting together some award applications for the coin hoard project and the afternoon was spent editing these for final approval. There were cookies at the end as a reward for getting through the four page document, and as you can see from the picture below the team is a big fan of brightly coloured infographics! 

Registrar Val admiring the infographic

Registrar Val admiring the infographic

Our Museum Conservator also had an interesting day, he was visiting the museum of our neighbouring island of Guernsey and consulting with them about some material they have loaned from France.

There you have it! That pretty much concludes the Coin Crew’s day in archaeology! Who knows what tomorrow may bring. I’ll leave you with this picture of the conservation team in happier coin removal times!

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Have a great Day of Archaeology Folks!

Viki Le Quelenec