15th century pot of gold found during excavation near Dutch city

A pot containing some 500 silver and gold coins was found during excavation work near the Dutch city of Vianen. The coins date from the 15th century, RTV Utrecht reports.

The pot of coins was discovered by waterworks employees during excavation work for Hoef en Haag, a new town between Vianen and Hagestein. They immediately contacted Utrecht's archeological hotline, who closed off the area and collected the pot and coins. 

Initial investigation by archeologist Peter de Boer revealed that the coins - 12 gold, the rest silver - were hidden in a simple cooking pot made of glazed earthenware. Some textiles were also found in the pot, indicating that the coins were packed in fabric bags or cloths. Most of the coins seem to date from the 1470's and 1480's. Some of the coins show King Henri VI of England, Bishop of Utrecht David of Burgundy, and Pope Paul II.

De Boer is very excited about this discovery. "Actually, every coin in this treasure is a story in precious metal", he said to the broadcaster. "Every gentleman gave out his 'business card' by way of a coin, and therefore there is a lot to discover. Stories over power relations, religion and a lot of symbolism."

According to the archeologist, little is known about life in this area after the siege and fall of medieval city Hagestein in 1405. "In this sense we now have a 'pot full of stories' and such a random find makes you as archeologist very happy", De Boer said. 

The coins now belong to, among others, the waterworks company, the project developer and the owners of the land where the coins were found, according to broadcaster NOS. These owners temporarily let go of the coins so that they can be studied. Once they've been valued, the owners will decide what will happen to them.