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Amateurs unearth 5,000 ancient artefacts in Lincolnshire

A 4,000-year-old stone axe head, an exceptionally rare African silver coin, and a Viking brooch are among the latest finds to be unearthed by local amateur archaeologists and metal detector enthusiasts in Lincolnshire.

In 2012, Lincolnshire ranked in the top three counties in the UK for the number of finds and treasures, after more than 5,000 artefacts were discovered.

They have been recorded as part of the British Museum Portable Antiquities Scheme, which is supported by Lincolnshire County Council.

Around 52,000 objects have been reported in Lincolnshire since the scheme started in 1997.

The oldest find is a flint axe from the Lower Palaeolithic period. It provides the oldest evidence of human life in Lincolnshire.

Thousands of archaeological objects are discovered across the country every year, and the scheme provides a way of properly recording these finds so they can help build our understanding of the past.

The British public reported over 74,000 historical items through the scheme in the last year.

Adam Daubney, Finds Liaison Officer at Lincolnshire County Council, said: ”The large number of finds reported in Lincolnshire highlight just how rich our archaeology here is.

“The majority are not ‘treasures’ in the bling sense, most of them are simple, everyday items such as coins and broken bits of pot. But, this sort of material is very revealing about how our ancestors lived.

“The items cover a long span of time, with some even dating back to the Stone Age – they come from all areas of the county, from the Wolds to the Fens, and the Trent Valley to the coast.

“If it wasn’t for the portable antiquities scheme, many of these discoveries would go unreported, effectively deleting it from our history.”

Five exciting Lincolnshire finds


Silver coin of King Juba of Numidia, North Africa, struck 60-64BC

Photo: LCC
Photo: LCC

This exceptionally rare silver coin of the King Juba of Numidia, North Africa, was found in south Lincolnshire.

Numidia was a kingdom in what is now Algeria and western Tunisia.

The coin was struck between 64-60 BC, and was probably used in the county at around the time of the Roman conquest. It may even have been brought during the Roman invasion.

The legend on the coin is just legible. It reads ‘REX IVBA’ or ‘King Juba’.


Prehistoric Axe

Photo: LCC
Photo: LCC

The Axe, discovered on the top of a ploughed field near Caistor, is over 4,000 years olds and represents a very important find for Lincolnshire.

It comes from the Neolithic era, commonly referred to as the “new stone age”, a crucial period in the county’s history.

A number of similar axe heads have been found in Lincolnshire, mainly in the Wolds. This particular example is carved in fine-grained greenstone. The stone was quarried in Langdale, in the Lake District – a centre for stone axe production during the Neolithic period.


Roman Figurine of Mercury

Photo: LCC
Photo: LCC

This nude figurine of Mercury, the God of trade and commerce, was discovered in the Lincolnshire Wolds.

The statuette is among a dozen found in the county in recent years and is about the size of your palm.

There is evidence of farmsteads and market sites in the area, and so it’s quite possible this one stood in somebody’s home as a personal shrine to bring them wealth and fortune.


 Anglo-Saxon tweezers with inscription

Photo: LCC
Photo: LCC

This broken object dates back to the dark ages, between AD725 and AD825, and was found in Grantham near the site of the ancient spring.

The tweezers are covered in runes, which are symbols and letters that formed ancient Scandinavian/Germanic alphabets.

The inscription is part of an Old English poem based on part of the Biblical Book of Daniel.

It is believed the runes read “Let the glories of the created world and everything made, the heavens and the angels, and the pure water, and all the power of creation upon Earth, bless Thee, kind Father”.


Viking Brooch

Photo: LCC
Photo: LCC

This complete Viking brooch, dating 850-950 AD, was found near Sleaford.

Viking artefacts are exceptionally rare in Lincolnshire. The county reveals lots of locally made objects which copy Viking styles, but this one is likely to have come all the way from Scandinavia.

It has been suggested that the brooch was imported into Britain via the ancient port of Saltfleetby, near Louth. It is decorated with ring and dots markings and on each wing is a leaf motif, which may symbolise the tree of life.