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Part of the Watlington Hoard
(click on the images to enlarge)

The Watlington Hoard was discovered by a metal detectorist in 2005 and subsequently excavated.

The hoard contains about 200 coins (some of them fragmentary), 7 items of jewellery and 15 ingots (bars of silver), the find is not particularly large, but it is hugely significant because it contains so many coins of Alfred the Great, King of Wessex (r. 871–899) and his less well known contemporary, Ceolwulf II of Mercia (r. 874–c. 879).

The hoard contains 13 examples of the rare ‘Two Emperors’ penny that shows Alfred and Ceolwulf seated side by side below a winged figure of Victory or an angel. The image on the coins suggests an alliance between the kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia. This is of particular interest as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle depicts Ceolwulf as a puppet of the Vikings. [For further information see: King Alfred and King Ceolwulf II]

The hoard can be dated by the presence of a single ‘Two-Line’ type penny which was not produced until the late 870s, after Alfred’s victory over the Vikings at the Battle of Edington (May 878).

The hoard was found near the ancient trackway known as Icknield Street which passes through Watlington, so it is possible that the hoard was buried as a result of this battle, or during the subsequent movement of peoples.

Coin of King Alfred and King Ceolwulf II