A rare Roman coin hoard acquired by Dorset Museum in 2022 has gone on display

August 10, 2023

The hoard of Roman coins was found in the parish of Askerswell in West Dorset in 2017 during a metal detecting rally. 

A selection of coins from the hoard. © The British Museum - Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
A selection of coins from the hoard. © The British Museum – Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

A total of 627 silver denarius coins were recovered, the majority being retrieved on the same day through archaeological excavation by Mike Trevarthen and Ciorstaidh Hayward Trevarthen.

The hoard was probably buried in the late 80s CE, as the latest coin found dates to 85 CE. However, the earliest coins date to the Roman Republic, although there are coins of all of the Emperors of the 1st century CE from Augustus to Domitian. It is the largest hoard of its date in Britain, and nothing like it has previously been seen in Dorset.

Following their discovery, the coins were declared as Treasure. Dorset Museum raised a total of £34,977 to acquire them through the Treasure process, with the support of significant grants from the Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, the Headley Trust Archaeological Acquisitions Fund, Richard Beleson and a number of other private donors.

The new showcase display, which runs from 4 August until 28 September 2023, allows visitors a first glance at some of the most important coins from the hoard, as well as an insight into the work going on behind the scenes to research, catalogue and eventually to display the whole hoard in the Museum’s People’s Dorset gallery.  

The showcase display is located outside the Museum’s Collection Discovery Centre, the Museum’s on-site collection store, built as part of the Museum’s redevelopment in 2021. The store has a glass façade through which visitors are able to see the work that goes on behind the scenes to research, conserve and catalogue the collections. There are also monthly tours of the Centre. The next public tour of the Collections Discovery Centre takes place on 23 August 2023 at 2pm.

Elizabeth Selby, Director of Collections and Public Engagement at the Museum said, “We were delighted to have been able to acquire this rare and significant coin hoard in 2022 with the support of a number of generous funders and donors. We are thrilled to be able to give visitors a first glance at the Hoard as we continue to carry out the necessary work to catalogue, photograph and research it. We hope that the hoard will go on permanent display at the Museum in 2024.”

Ciorstaidh Hayward Trevarthen, Finds Liaison Officer for Dorset Council said: “This exceptional discovery was reported by the finders as potential treasure through the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme, and it is important that the Dorset Museum was able to acquire it as a result of the process.”

Community Exhibition

21 July - 29 October 2023

Nature Heals | Photography by Trevor Parsons

Dorset Museum and Dorchester Arts co-present Nature Heals, an exhibition of nature photography by Trevor Parsons.

Find out more

Special Exhibition

21 July - 29 October 2023

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Wildlife Photographer of the Year, the world-famous exhibition from the Natural History Museum, is coming to Dorset Museum this summer.

Find out more


6 October 2023, 10:00am -1:00pm, 

Creative Journeys Through Time | 6 week art workshop with Helen Garrett

Designed for adults interested in art, prehistory and archaeology, and running as a six-week block, this course is an exciting opportunity to get up close with some extraordinary artefacts in the collection at Dorset Museum.

Find out more

Adult Workshop

9 October 2023, 2:00pm to 4:30pm

Life Drawing at Dorset Museum – Eight-week course led by James Meiklejohn

This eight-week structured course is suitable for complete beginners to those with some experience.

Find out more


10 October 2023, 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Wildlife friendly gardening | Mitch Perkins

Would you like to make your garden more wildlife friendly?  Join Mitch Perkins to find out how.

Find out more

Museum after hours

19 October 2023, 5:00pm - 6:30pm

FREE | Museum After Hours

Join us for an opportunity to explore the Museum at this FREE late opening.

Find out more


19 October 2023, 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Real Dorset | Jon Woolcott

In this lecture, let Jon Woolcott take you on an amusing whistle-stop tour through some of the discoveries and oddities that make Dorset unique.

Find out more


25 October 2023, 2:00pm - 2:45pm

Collections Discovery Centre Tour

Join our Collections Team for an opportunity to explore behind the scenes in the Museum’s Collections Discovery Centre.

Find out more

Halloween Event

27 October 2023 5:00pm-9:00pm

Museums After Dark 2023

Discover three incredible Dorchester museums on one unforgettable night.

Find out more