Ancient Roman Jewelry Hoard Found Under U.K. Department Store

Courtesy Colchester Archaeological Trust 

Archaeologists in the U.K. have uncovered a collection of 1st-century gold and silver jewelry thought to be the finest discovery of Roman jewelry in Britain’s history. 

The find includes “three gold armlets, a silver chain necklace, two silver bracelets, a substantial silver armlet, a small bag of coins, and a small jewellery box containing two sets of gold earrings and four gold finger-rings,” according to the Colchester Archaeological Trust, which discovered the hoard.

Adam Wightman, site supervisor for the trust, uncovered the jewelry during an excavation at the Williams & Griffin department store. The trust was hired by the store’s owner, Fenwick Group, to excavate the area in preparation for a planned redevelopment. 

The jewels were found buried under the floor of a house that was burned down, along with the entire town of Colchester, during Boudicca’s Revolt of 61 CE, when the Iceni tribe, native Britons led by Queen Boudicca, rebelled against Roman occupiers.

Fenwick has announced plans to give the jewelry to the Colchester and Ipswich Museums Service. 

“We were pleased to fund this excavation at our store as part of its redevelopment program,” Hugo Fenwick, trading director at the Fenwick Group, told the East Anglican Daily Times. “There was always a very real possibility of unearthing a significant find in the centre of Colchester, with its antiquity and stature as Britain’s oldest recorded town. We are delighted that the archaeologists found this treasure during the very last week of their excavations, strengthening our understanding of this important Roman town and the ferocity of the Boudiccan raid.”