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Cache of medieval treasure discovered at Cluny Abbey


Michel Osmenda | CC BY 2.0

J-P Mauro - published on 11/16/17

Archaeologists found the largest stash of silver deniers to date.

Anne Baud and Anne Flammin from the Laboratoire Archéologie et Archéométrie led a team of archaeologists to unearth a cache of medieval artifacts at Cluny Abbey in France. The excavation began in September and is part of a greater research program focused on Cluny, the site of Benedictine communities from the 10th century through the French revolution.

Among the unearthed items were 2,200 silver deniers, the largest cache of deniers ever discovered. It is also the first time archaeologists have found silver deniers mixed with gold Arabic coins. The artifacts were taken to Vincent Borrel, a PhD student at the Archaeology and Philology of East and West research unit. It will be some time until he has identified and dated every piece of this sizable collection. has a complete list of the discovered treasures:

More than 2,200 silver deniers and oboles (coins)—mostly minted by the Abbey of Cluny and probably dating to the first half of the 12th century—in a cloth bag, traces of which remain on some of the coins A tanned hide bundle, found among the silver coins, fastened with a knot, and enclosing 21 Islamic gold dinars struck between 1121 and 1131 in Spain and Morocco, under the reign of Ali ibn Yusuf (1106–1143), who belonged to the Berber Almoravid dynasty. A gold signet ring with a red intaglio depicting the bust of a god and an inscription possibly dating the ring back to the first half of the 12th century A folded sheet of gold foil weighing 24g and stored in a case A small circular object made of gold

Read the full story here.

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