Doncaster Roman jewels mystery

the 3rd century Roman bracelet found at Cadeby
the 3rd century Roman bracelet found at Cadeby
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PART of a treasure-trove dating back to Roman times has mysteriously surfaced at an antiques fair - almost 30 years after the rest of it was found in a Doncaster wood.

A silver bracelet dating back to the third century is now wanted by Doncaster Museum so they can reunite it with the rest of the famous Cadeby Hoard discovered by a local metal detector enthusiast in 1981.

Yesterday the way was cleared for the Chequer Road museum to acquire it from the owners - an ancient artefacts dealer in Essex - after Doncaster Coroner Nicola Mundy declared the bracelet to be treasure-trove.

Experts from the British Museum, who will now decide its value, are convinced it would have been hidden in the same place as 112 silver Roman coins and four silver bracelets in Pot Ridings Wood, Cadeby, in the period after AD 250.

The Cadeby Hoard, which attracted national interest at the time, was found hidden in a rock crevice in October 1981 by Brendan Kennedy, of Victorian Crescent, Town Moor, while using his metal detector.

But the hearing was unable to shed any light on how the bracelet came to change hands separately at the Newark Antiques Fair in 2009 - where it was sold by Nottingham man Kevin Darby, who has no knowledge of the finder.

He was unable to attend yesterday’s hearing because he is recovering from a heart attack.

In a statement Mr Darby said he had had the bracelet for many years, and bought it t because he liked it.

The bracelet is 85 per cent silver with a carnelian gemstone. At almost 62mm wide it weighs 62.8g. It is believed to have been made by a silversmith in Lincoln or York between 250 and 280AD.

While researching on the internet Mr Darby found a similar bracelet in the Doncaster Museum collection and visited to see the others from the Cadeby Hoard.

He also showed it to museum staff and added: “I have done everything by the book.”

The bracelet was bought by Essex-based dealers Timeline Originals, whose chief executive, Brett Hammond, said they were told it had been excavated prior to 1975 and before treasure hunters’ legislation was tightened up.

Ms Mundy received an expert’s report from the British Museum, with Ian Richardson saying the bracelet dated from the third century and bore ‘strong similarities’ with two found in Pot Ridings Wood.

“Analysis suggest this bracelet is another element of the Cadeby Hoard and should be considered retrospectively as treasure-trove,” he stated.

The coroner concurred, saying the bracelet had ‘strong similarities’ with the Cadeby Hoard bracelets.

She said: “I believe it was part of that earlier hoard and would have been deposited under the same rock.”

The treasure-trove declaration means the object - currently in the custody of the British Museum - is now owned by the Crown and will be valued by experts before being offered for sale.