What do you do with your broken or unwanted gold jewellery? Selling it on to make some money from the items is a much better option than leaving it, forgotten in a jewellery box.
Sadly, that wasn’t an option for one woman, whose forgotten gold jewellery collection has now gone on display. The Fenwick Treasure is so called because it was found in a box buried beneath what is now the department store’s premises in Colchester, Essex.
The collection, which you can see in the town, dates back to Roman times and is believed to have been buried in the floor of a house belonging to the owner as Boudicca’s Iceni tribe advanced on Colchester almost 2,000 years ago.
It’s made up of gold and silver jewellery, including five gold rings, two gold bracelets, two silver bracelets, a silver amulet plus two pairs of earrings and 26 coins. It’s not known what the owner’s exact fate was, but she certainly didn’t come back to collect her jewellery. Archaeologists believe the house was burned down in a raid by the Iceni and the occupants may have been executed by the warriors, who attacked Colchester in AD61.
The hoard was discovered in 2014 by archaeologists on site ahead of the building of the town’s new Fenwick store.
Fenwick group trading director, Hugo Fenwick, told the Daily Telegraph: "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.”
The jewellery collection has been described as “of national importance” and “one of the finest ever uncovered in Britain”.
Dr Philip Crummy, director of the Colchester Archaeological Trust said: “We had almost finished our six-month study of the site when we came upon a small tangled ball of metal that turned out to be jewellery that had lain there undisturbed since 61AD.”