The Romans began the full-scale invasion of Britain in the year 43CE. By 69CE the invasion force had reached Derbyshire and the Peak District. Buxton, with its warm thermal waters bubbling out of the rocks at a constant 27.5 degrees Celsius, must have seemed like a gift from the Gods among the inhospitable cold rain and mud of the British uplands. Like the Britons who inhabited the peak district, the Romans believed that the water was sacred, or enchanted, and dedicated the warm springs to the Celtic goddess Arnemetiae. Fine Roman pottery, glass and precious coins have been discovered ... (read more)
Coins from the Buxton Hoard
DERSB : 2007.6
Part of the hoard found at Buxton Mineral Baths in 1979, 43CE-410CE
In 1979, a hoard of coins and other small objects were discovered in the Buxton Mineral Baths. The Romans had arrived in Buxton by around 75CE and built baths filled by the natural thermal springs. For good fortune and health, people threw in coins and personal objects such as bracelets, pins and thimbles. The hoard was deposited over centuries, representing the entire period of Roman occupation until around 410CE.
We can work out when Roman coins were thrown into the well by examining them, looking at the image of the emperor and how worn the coins themselves are. The number of coins and their individual value helps us to map how popular the baths were at different times.
The hoard also contains copies of Roman coins that were made by local people. The coins are known as 'barbarous copies' because they were made by people the Romans called barbarians.
The Buxton well was associated with the local goddess, Arnemetia. She is also found guarding wells in eastern Europe, and as in Buxton, she becomes identified with St Anne, the mother of Mary, mother of Christ. Is it fanciful to suggest that it was women throwing coins into the fountain with their hopes for becoming pregnant and having a safe delivery?
The Romans call Buxton Aquae Arnemetiae after the goddess of the spring, Arnemetia. Aquae Sulis (Bath) was the only other Roman town in Britain to be named for its water source.
- Who collected it? Dinardi, Tony (collector)
- Rights: Creative Commons CC BY-NC 4.0 Buxton Museum and Art Gallery (part of Derbyshire County Council)
Wonders linked to this object:
In 1979 a hoard of coins was uncovered during restoration work to the Minerals Baths in Buxton. The coins reflected over 300 years of Roman history - and with it the story of Roman Buxton. Coins were thrown into the sacred waters as offerings to the Gods. They were likely intended to bring good luck or grant particular wishes. It may be that the waters were cleared out periodically, and that the coins discovered are those that were missed down in a crevice at the bottom of ... (read more)