A rare coin featuring the face of William the Conqueror was discovered by an amateur archaeologist this week at Richmond Castle.
The silver penny was dug up at the castle during a dig which is taking place as part of Richmond’s 950th anniversary celebrations.
It was unearthed by Richmond resident Jenny Reid-Young who was taking part in her first archaeologist dig.
Jenny said: “I thought the dig was a great way to get involved in the 950th year celebrations and to experience something new.
“You always hope to find something but this was just brilliant – it was so exciting when I started to dig it up I knew it was something interesting.
“However when I was told it was William the Conqueror’s image I was blown away.
“What an incredible experience!”
The discovery excited experts who were present at the dig, including Professor Alice Roberts, who was attending with a camera crew from the BBC programme, Digging for Britain.
Well, I came to a Norman Castle but I wasn’t quite expecting this exciting find to emerge on the one day I’m here. It was Jenny’s first day digging on an archaeological site – and she found this silver penny of William the Conqueror! #RichmondCastle #DiggingRoadtrip pic.twitter.com/ra7oldrRym
— Prof Alice Roberts? (@theAliceRoberts) July 29, 2021
Dig director Jim Brightman, from Solstice Heritage, added: “The real star of the day though was a find that came out of Trench 2 just as we were cleaning up for a photo.
“On her very first day on an archaeological site, from a layer that we had been interpreting as early 14th century in date, Jenny’s trowel flicked over a small disc of metal.
“At first, we thought we had another jetton, like the one discovered last week in Trench 3—a fabulous find.
“After we’d gently cleaned off a little of the dirt, however, it gradually became clear we had something much rarer on our hands.
“Examining the symbols and barely visible face on the obverse, we realised we were staring into the eyes of William the Conqueror stamped on a silver penny.”
The expert said that specialist conservation work, they may be able to discern the legend around the edge and find out where it was minted.
“Even with the information we have though, we know it dates to the early years of Richmond Castle, taking our story right back to the very beginnings of the town,” he added.
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