It wasn’t just an ordinary day at work for employees of a water company in the Netherlands, who earlier this month stumbled upon an earthenware cooking pot containing around 500 gold and silver coins dating to the 15 th century while laying pipes at a building site.
Dutch News reports that the treasure was discovered during building work for a new town being developed between Vianen and Hagestein in the province of Utrecht, and may shed new light on what occurred in the medieval town of Hagestein after it was destroyed in 1405.
Dr Boer explained that during the time the coins were in circulation, the Netherlands was ruled by a French noble family, the ‘Dukes of Burgundy’, who had deep ties to France's royal family. However, there remain many gaps in the knowledge of this time period, particularly in the aftermath of the violent destruction of Hagestein, near where the coins were discovered.
“‘We now have a pot full of stories,” archaeologist Peter De Boer told NOS. "Every gentleman gave out his 'business card' by way of a coin, and therefore there is a lot to discover. Stories over power relations, religion and a lot of symbolism."
Hoe fen Haag, a new town being developed in Utrecht ( CC by SA 4.0 / Jan Diijkstra )
Pot of Gold
An analysis of the coins revealed that twelve of them were solid gold, while the rest are silver. The true value has not yet been determined, but the owners of the water company Oasen, the project developer, and the land owner where the treasure was found, are likely to do quite well.
“Some textiles were also found in the pot, indicating that the coins were packed in fabric bags or cloths,” reports NL Times . “Most of the coins seem to date from the 1470's and 1480's. Some of the coins show King Henri VI of England, Bishop of Utrecht David of Burgundy, and Pope Paul II.”
The joint owners of the coins have temporarily let go of the coins so they can be studied, and they will then decide what they wish to do with them.
It’s not the first time a pot of treasure has been discovered by some lucky finder. In 1993, two amateur treasure hunters found a collection of over 4,000 Roman coins in a pot in Lincolnshire, England, and in 2015, two clay pots were found by forestry workers in Poland , containing a hoard of more than 6,000 coins. There may not be golden treasures at the end of every rainbow, but pots of gold are still to be found!
Top image: 15th century gold and silver coins found in the Netherlands. Credit: Oasen
By April Holloway