THE British Museum has been overruled by a coroner who has declared that a “very rare” Roman coin unearthed by a Chilmark metal detectorist is not treasure.
The silver Denarius coin was found in September 2015 on farmland at Aldham, near Hadleigh, by Jonathan Brooks.
Last year an inquest had to be adjourned after Mr Brooks said he wanted to challenge any treasure ruling, which would have seen the coin become available to the British Museum.
At the time, Mr Brooks, who had been searching for several hours with the permission of landowner William Crockatt before finding the coin 4cm beneath the surface of a ploughed field, said he believed the British Museum was misusing the Treasure Act to fill gaps in their collections.
The British Museum had initially said that, while single coins were not usually regarded as treasure, the one found by Mr Brooks had a hole drilled through it and may not have then been used as currency.
But Mr Brooks said that while other finds he had made in the past had been declared as treasure, he believed this “very rare” coin was not and should be returned him.
He told the inquest: “The hole could have been drilled by me, by a Victorian person or others over hundreds of years.”
On Monday, Mr Brooks was at Suffolk Coroner’s Court in Ipswich to hear assistant Suffolk Coroner Nigel Parsley rule that, because of doubts about what the coin would have been used for, it could not be declared as treasure.
Dr Anna Booth from Suffolk County Council archaeology service told the inquest that many Roman coins had holes pierced through them, sometimes suggesting use as a pendant but it was not always the case.
Following the inquest ruling, Mr Brooks, who had travelled from his home in Chilmark for the hearing, will be allowed to keep the coin.