Ten years after they were discovered, 1,266 Roman coins found in a field near Malmesbury are being displayed to the public at the town’s Athelstan Museum.

The Malmesbury Coin Hoard has spent the last seven years being professionally conserved by Conservation Services in Chippenham, and catalogued by a group of committed volunteers led by trained archaeologist and museum trustee Maria Marsh.

It was unveiled to the public after specialists built an environment-controlled display cabinet to showcase the hoard.

Maria said: “It’s amazing to see the coins together with the pot, on display in the museum at last. The volunteers I’ve worked with have been amazing in their commitment to prepare the hoard for display, just a few miles away from where they were originally found.

“I believe this is one of the few times that something as big as this has been returned to a local museum so close to where it originally went into the ground.”

One of the volunteers who has worked on the hoard is the very man who found the hoard while metal detecting ten years ago; Anthony Mims, known to all as Mimzy.

He said: “It was in 2012, in a field in Milbourne, that I came across the hoard and I didn’t really realise what I’d found. I moved the earth around it as best I could, took the whole hoard and put it on my waterproof coat and wrapped it all up."

The hoard was examined and declared as Treasure Trove which means it has historical value. Museums can then express an interest in it, and the Treasury puts a value on it. The value, once the item is purchased, is then split between those who find the treasure and the landowner. In this case, Mimzy and the farmer, who has since passed away, did receive an amount of money.

“It was not as much as people think,” Mimzy said. “It was not a fortune. However, I don’t do it for that. I’m a genuine lover of history and the hoard, where it was found and the other items found on the site give us clues to the past which I find fascinating.”

No one knows why the coins were buried in the Wiltshire field though both Maria and Mimzy wonder if it was some kind of religious offering.

The hoard was purchased by the Athelstan Museum in 2015 in a bid led by Maria, then additional funds raised to display it safely. In total the project has cost in the region of £50,000 and members of the community contributed towards the overall cost. The museum trustees were also supported by grants from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the V&A (Victoria & Albert) Purchase Grant.

For more information about the hoard visit https://malmesburycoinhoard.uk