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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  History and Archeology (Moderator: David Atherton)  |  Topic: HUGE hoard found in Aquae Sulis! 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: HUGE hoard found in Aquae Sulis!  (Read 3864 times)
mwilson603
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« Reply #25 on: March 28, 2012, 04:55:41 am »

Quote from: Fides on March 28, 2012, 04:36:26 am
As well as that, the museum doesn't make enough money from ticket sales to properly store the coins. This might appear surprising given the cost of one ticket; most of the money made goes to the maintenance of the buildings and objects already there, which is no mean feat. As with all museums, for every one item on display there are dozens in the stores that have to be properly archived and conserved, and this swallows up a vast amount of cash.

When I lived in Trowbridge, about 15 miles from Bath, we had a local museum.  Each and every council tax payer had a surcharge on their council tax to pay for the museum.  It annoyed me at the time because even though I had no choice but to pay for the museum, any out of town visitor had free access into the same museum as there was no entry fee.  In your case you have an entry fee, and the museum is in one of the biggest tourist cities of the UK.  In fact the Roman Baths were the 4th most visited historic site in the UK in 2009.  How come there is no money?  Doesn't the Bath council tax also have a museum payment line within it?
Also, doesn't your last sentence argue strongly against museums holding more items?  The common argument from some archaeologists is that all historic finds should be held within museums and ownership of these items by collectors is wrong.  Surely if there are dozens of items in unseen storage for each item on display, the argument falls slightly flat.
I should add, I am all in favour of historic items found in the UK, staying in the UK.  So don't think I am being unpatriotic in any way, and I am happy to pay for entry into museums and have always felt that they are incredibly important.  I just feel that there is a significant case of "having their cake and eating it" displayed by many of the museums. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Have_one's_cake_and_eat_it_too)
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Mark
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Fides
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« Reply #26 on: March 28, 2012, 02:29:10 pm »

Indeed the Baths are a very popular tourist destination. Simply because there exists an entry fee (so far as I know, the council donation to the museum is minimal) it does not follow that the museum is bathing in all the cash it brings in. The cost of buildings maintenance is itself substantial and never ending; the stores and archives also require constant attention and expenditure - air conditioners need to switched on 24/7 which, over time, swallows money like a b***h. Then there are wages and other, unforseen expenditure. They are generally minimal compared to the long term and never-ending drain posed by buildings maintenance and storage. I'm telling the truth when I say that the museum doesn't have cash to throw around!

And I'm not sure that possessing - but not displaying - items invalidates the argument that museums should receive new finds like this. 1) museums are, so far as we know, better equipped than anywhere else in facilities and experience to store these items safely in order that they do not degrade in some way; 2) museums contain the experts and specialists best suited through their expertise to understand and study those items - by and large collectors are not in this position. 3) The fact that new items are often put in storage does not mean that the public cannot gain access to them - special request means that you can view an object by appointment for study and observation. Surely this is better than an item of significance being bought up by some collector and placed in his safe, never to be seen again?

Best,

Matt
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mwilson603
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« Reply #27 on: March 28, 2012, 03:02:17 pm »

Quote from: Fides on March 28, 2012, 02:29:10 pm
Indeed the Baths are a very popular tourist destination. Simply because there exists an entry fee (so far as I know, the council donation to the museum is minimal) it does not follow that the museum is bathing in all the cash it brings in.

Not exactly how it is portrayed by the best selling archaeology magazine Matt Wink

"The Roman Baths are a rare and possibly even unique example of a very profitable local attraction. It is owned and run by the Bath and North-East Somerset Council. The Heritage Services business unit has a turnover of around £12 million a year, mostly from entrance charges of £11.50 per person, though local residents can visit for free. There are also substantial profits from the shop and from room hire for weddings and events. The Service costs around £9 million a year to run, which means that they return around £3 million a year surplus to the Council."

http://www.archaeology.co.uk/blog/andrew-selkirk/the-roman-baths-britains-most-profitable-museum.htm

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Mark
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Andrew McCabe
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« Reply #28 on: March 28, 2012, 03:44:10 pm »

Quote from: Fides on March 28, 2012, 02:29:10 pm
Indeed the Baths are a very popular tourist destination. Simply because there exists an entry fee (so far as I know, the council donation to the museum is minimal) it does not follow that the museum is bathing in all the cash it brings in.

Not exactly how it is portrayed by the best selling archaeology magazine Matt Wink

"The Roman Baths are a rare and possibly even unique example of a very profitable local attraction. It is owned and run by the Bath and North-East Somerset Council. The Heritage Services business unit has a turnover of around £12 million a year, mostly from entrance charges of £11.50 per person, though local residents can visit for free. There are also substantial profits from the shop and from room hire for weddings and events. The Service costs around £9 million a year to run, which means that they return around £3 million a year surplus to the Council."

This is reminiscent about a recent debate on entry fees to the Colosseum.

Of course the MOST POPULAR attractions make a profit. That's by definition - because they are popular - they attract the tourist pounds in disproportionate numbers. But they also need to because the LEAST POPULAR attractions (midden heaps under a car park that is due to be excavated for the foundations for an industrial park) don't generate a cent but may consume vast amounts of money in excavation and conservation.

Net: all the entrance fees from all the popular attractions in the country are unlikely to dent the real need of archaeology and conservation. Don't begrudge Bath their entrance fees... and if some goes back to the council well remember they pay for libraries and schools and such like which to me are as valuable as shoring up an archaeological excavation, in shoring up future knowledge. Also, to the extent that entrance fees are paid by non-resident visitors, isn't it right that visitors should help pay for the overall Bath experience, which includes more than just the most popular tourist attraction.
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mwilson603
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« Reply #29 on: March 28, 2012, 04:09:59 pm »

Andrew, all good points.  However, my point was that the museum has just spent £5.4M pounds on a conservation campaign, partly using £750,000 in retained profits, and given approx £3M surplus profit to the council.  Matt's point about donating, when challenged, was that donation was needed as the museum does NOT have cash to throw around.  I would propose that a £3M returned profit surplus, and an investment of £750,000 of profit, pretty much qualifies the museum as showing themselves as pretty cash rich.  Now how the cash is disseminated afterwards, and what else it supports, is another matter.  However, I have no doubt that if the museum wanted the 30,000 coin hoard, and I mainly agree that it should, then it would not have trouble finding the funds!
regards
Mark
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« Reply #30 on: March 29, 2012, 08:22:23 pm »

What needs to be done with 30,000 coins can not be addressed properly until the cataloging and conservation has been completed.  I personally find it absurd that one museum would want 30,000 random coins quite possibly of just a few varieties so they can pile them up in a diorama of the find.  Personally, I'm rooting for the middle of the group to yield a few examples of Silbannicus and a few handsful of Jotapian and Pacatian that can be split up among several museums or even sold privately with the millions they bring being used for some purpose more significant than being piled up in some vault. 

So far we have seen photos of coins which may or may not be from the hoard.  The word was the coins were fused but we see pictures of Gordian through Valerian silver in high grade and another shot showing muddy coins loose in a hand.  Maybe we should wait and see what actually comes out before we start fighting over the bones.  If the coins are 100% fused and not conservable, maybe the best use would be as a lump display but I hope we can learn something from all these newly found treasures other than how to fight over them. 

If the coins are, in fact, what has shown in the photos, it is unlikely that the top experts on them work for any museum other than the BM or that they are located in the UK.  The coins I have seen in photos were not British (probably Rome mint).  That does not mean that they should be sent to Italy but local museums in the UK are not expected to employ people who would be able to interpret what is found.  I trust the BM will consult whoever needs to be involved even if they work for a coin dealer or an overseas institution.    I hope we all will get to see a proper report, photos and, perhaps, even some of the coins themselves after they finish with I am sure will be proper conservation and cataloging. 
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« Reply #31 on: March 30, 2012, 03:54:56 am »

The famous Domitianus II coin was found in a large hoard of fused coins. The coin was discovered during conservation at the BM. So there is no reason to think that fused coins are not recoverable.

As the BBC news report at the top of this thread says, this hoard is also being conserved by the BM. Under the Treasure Act, any museum that wants all or part of any find has to put in a bid and pay the market price. So if the BM conservators did find a Silbannicus, Jotapian or Pacatian there would be no reason why the BM could not make a bid to keep those coins and allow the Bath museum to take the rest.
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Peter, London

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« Reply #32 on: April 02, 2012, 04:11:44 pm »

Stories like this make me wish I lived in Europe!!!!  Sad Don't suppose the Romans sent an expedition to California so I can take my metal detector out and start hunting? Tongue All the same that's an amazing find!!!!
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« Reply #33 on: July 02, 2012, 01:47:01 pm »

Great new article by the BM Conservator currently working on documenting the Bath hoard, Julia Tubman.


http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/07/2012/the-beau-street-hoard-excavation-progress


The coins were buried in 6 leather bags, now deteriorated of course. One of the bags was filled with just denarii. Oldest coin - A Mark Anthony Legionary denarius.
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lordmarcovan
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« Reply #34 on: July 13, 2012, 11:09:59 am »

Quote

 Shocked  That's truly mindblowing.  I'd keel over dead of heart failure if I found something like that.

... but I'd die happy.  Grin
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