Pause where you can see the natural arch of Reynard’s Cave. To find out how it formed we need to travel back to the end of the last Ice Age, around 10,000 years ago, when glacial meltwater swelled the Dove into a powerful torrent. Icy waters cut down through fissures and faults in the rock like a knife through butter. The vertical crags and pinnacles we can see from here are harder bands of limestone that the water could not cut through, but just how did these natural caves and arches form? [caption id="attachment_7182" align="alignleft" width="1024"]read more)
The Reynard's Cave Hoard
Hoard of 23 gold and silver coins attributed to the Corieltavi tribe, alongside Roman coins and a brooch, found at Reynard's Kitchen Cave, 2000 years old. (Late Iron Age)
Archaeologists know about these people only from their coins, which they started to produce in the first century BCE. The coins from the first century CE bear the names of some of their leaders and have a stylised horse on one side and an abstract pattern based on a wreath on the other. The Corieltavi were mainly farmers. They probably worked alongside each other in a federation of small, self-governing, tribal groups with centres in Leicestershire and Lincolnshire.
Was Dovedale the furthest western extent of the Corieltavi range, or was it outside their territory? Coins were relatively rare in the first century CE. Most people would have had little or no contact with them. Instead of being used like modern cash, they were a convenient way to store wealth, like possessing expensive jewellery or a gold ingot. Coins conferred power and status upon their owners. We think this group was one persons savings, estimated to be the equivalent of a Roman soldiers salary for about eight weeks. The Roman brooch also dates from the mid-first century CE.
It is unusual to find a coin hoard in a cave. These coins were scattered across the cave floor. A limited excavation in 1959 did not unearth anything similar.
In 2013, a member of the public found four of the coins. He reported his find to the National Trust which cares for Dovedale. The National Trust carried out a full investigation with the University of Leicester and Defence Archaeology Groups Operation Nightingale, which provides recuperation through field archaeology for service personnel injured in conflict.
- Credits: Lent by the National Trust
- Rights: Creative Commons CC BY-NC 4.0 Buxton Museum and Art Gallery (part of Derbyshire County Council)