The find that has caused the greatest amount of interest, however, is of a broken Roman ceramic jar which contained upwards of 400 coins that came to light during an archaeological exploration of the site before the start of the school’s planned expansion and building improvements.

The coins have been sent to a specialist to be cleaned, conserved and to ascertain their precise number, date and denomination. It is thought that the pot of coins was buried by a Roman citizen or farmer for safe keeping, possibly during a time of crisis or threat.

Investigations so far have also shown that there was probably a small Roman farm or hamlet on the site of the school and this was preceded by Late Bronze Age activity around 1,000 to 800 BC.

The pot, coins and any other artefacts found during the archaeological dig at the school belong to the landowner, Reading Borough Council, and fall under the requirements of the Treasure Act 1996. It is hoped that they will join the collection at Reading Museum and enhance our understanding of what life was like in the Borough during Roman times.

Lead Councillor for Culture, Sport and Consumer Services, Paul Gittings said:

“This is such an exciting find, especially as this ‘buried treasure’ was found in the grounds of a Reading primary school. What a wonderful way to bring history to life for The Ridgeway’s pupils. I am sure that they are as keen as I am to find out more about the coins once they have been assessed by experts.

“Subject to the outcome of the Treasure Act process, the Council hopes to exhibit the coins at Reading Museum so that they can be enjoyed by residents and visitors to the Borough.”

The Ridgeway Primary School’s Headteacher, Madeleine Cosgrove said:

“Both pupils and staff are very excited about this discovery and look forward to the story unfolding so that it can be preserved as part of the heritage of The Ridgeway School.”

Source: Thames Valley Archaeological Services

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