Rybot's Account of the Discovery
of the
"La Marquanderie Hoard"
of Coriosolite Coins
Manuscript: First Page Manuscript: Second Page Manuscript:Third Page Manuscript: Rybot's Diagram


When discoveries are written up in the press, the accounts are highly abbreviated; when they are written up in journals, the language is made so dry and academic, it is hard to remember there are even people involved in the thing. You would almost believe the items announced themselves, lept out of a hole, and appeared in a museum case, replete with labels and descriptions. It's almost like reading medical clinical study notes, where it is easy to forget all the chemical analyses and measurements have to do with a live human being.

The real story of a find is a lot livelier and more interesting than the "tidied up" version, and I believe, a lot more useful. I don't think the scholarly value of find details is increased by removing information and ensuring the language is made too dull to comprehend or care about. Some modern scholars in various fields, from physics to psychology to animal behaviour, have followed in this tradition of clear and lively writing that is as delightful to the layman as it is enlightening to colleagues. It is a good tradition to follow.

I have prepared the following typescript from a photocopy of Major N. V. L. Rybot's manuscript about the discovery of the largest hoard of Coriosolite coins (La Marquanderie, Jersey). He later rewrote his account and published it in his book, Armorican Art, but the sense of immediacy was lost. The original manuscript is housed at the Jersey Archives. It is on large 10" x 16" paper, probably from the sketchbook he was using to do his heraldic painting, when he was interrupted by the news of the discovery.

Notes on the transcription:

  1. Lineation follows the original manuscript.

  2. [] - square brackets: Phrases in [square brackets] have been struck out

  3. <> - angle brackets: Inserted phrases, often replacing struck out phrases, are in <angle brackets>.

  4. \ - backslash: Where struck out or inserted phrases continue past a line break, the break is indicated by a backslash:

    [word word word\
    \word word],


    <word word word\
    \word word>

  5. word+
    +word - plus signs before and after return:
    Where transcribed phrases from the same MAIN line in the manuscript wrap into another line, a + at the end of the break and another at its resumption is used to indicate there is no line break in the original.

  6. word*
    *word - asterisks before and after return
    Where transcribed phrases from the same INSERTED line in the manuscript wrap, * and * are used.

  7. -----
    Five hyphens on line alone:
    a visual break to make interlined main and inserted phrases or sentences more readable, but does not represent an actual line break in the original.

  8. <inserted word [struck out words] word word <inserted words> word> -nested brackets: Sometimes struck out and inserted phrases are nested within other inserted or struck out phrases, and the brackets are nested accordingly.

  9. <^word> - caret within angle brackets: Words added above or beside a line having no phrase struck out are indicated by a caret <^within the angle brackets>. No caret is used where a phrase replaces a struck out one.

  10. ~word? - word introduced by a tilde and ending with a question mark: Uncertain words (hard-to-interpret handwriting) are introduced by a ~ and end in a ?, such as: ~surviving?

  11. ... - ellipsis: where certain letters within a word are unreadable, they are replaced by an ellipsis: ~dis...ed?

  12. ---> - hyphens and angle bracket arrow: Drawn arrows within the typescript are shown as hyphens followed by an angle bracket: --->.

  13. (      ) - parentheses containing 5 spaces: Large gaps in writing, which sometimes appear to be new paragraphs, and sometimes may have been left to allow further notes to be added, I have shown by 5 spaces within parentheses: (     )

  14. {} - braces: My notes, which I've tried to keep to a minimum, are in {braces}.

    Following is the line-by-line transcription of the original:

    The Cache of the Gaulish Coins

    {Page 1} [Shortly before] <At about 1/4 to> 12 [noon] on Wednesday the 24th of April  
      Mr. P. Ellis called at my house, [having been on the advice of \ <and asked to see me.>  
      \Mr. Harrison of the "Evening Post."] As I was busy at the time  
      painting heraldic devices for a jubilee Arch [about] <which was> to be erected  
      over the eastgates of the Town Church I was not too pleased  
      at the interruption (     ) However I went downstairs  
      and Mr Ellis handed me two coins for identification. He  
      [informed] <told> me that he had <^first> taken them to his bank where he  
      was told they were Turkish and then to the Evening Post  
      where Mr Harrison had advised him to consult me  
      I recognised them [at once] as Gaulish, [similar to] of a  
      type already well known [locally] [here] <in Jersey> and told him of their  
      great local interest. (     ) He informed me that one of his  
      men had dug them up on the afternoon of Monday the  
      22nd of April [and] that thousands of a similar nature  
      [were lying] had been shovelled out of the trench and  
      were now lying in heaps [out there] <on the grass>. (     ) He offered to  
      drive me out at once to the spot and as we were  
      hurrying out of the house Stapleton came in to pay a  
      chance call. (     ) I bustled him out with the news and  
      told him to follow hard after us as his car was  
      <^En route Mr Ellis gave me further particulars of the find and [informed \--->  
      waiting. (     ) He arrived at the site of the cache  
      \ me that] <on my suggestion> that the Societe Jersiaise would like to acquire the coins generously offered us the lot.>  
      shortly after us and <^together> with [me was astounded at the \  
      \ multitude of] we proceeded to examine the spot &  
      marvel at the multitude of treasure which lay  
      disregarded & unappreciated [aro] at our feet  
      The trench from which they came was one of a series dug for  
      the foundations of a house (     ) It was 1'6" wide and about  
      2'9" deep (see section). (     ) The east side of cache had  
      not been cleared and I scooped out the soil with my  
      hands and took out a number of coins and some of  
      the metal layer which lay at its base. (     ) Not wishing to  
      disturb the spot further (     ) I examined the other trenches  
      while Stapleton commenced to make some measurements to  
      fix the spot accurately (     ) Mr Ellis then had to leave us  
      and I took the opportunity again to thank him for his  
      gift. (     ) Meanwhile Aufrey, the labourer who had found  

    {Page 2} the cache told us that when he was digging on the  
      Monday afternoon he uncovered a number of stones  
      about the size of bricks (     ) about 1'6" below the surface.  
      On removing these the coins were ~dis...ed? and  
      shovelled onto the <^west> side of the trench where we had  
      just seen them (     ) Aufrey & his 2 fellow labourers  
      thought they were buttons. (     ) They appear to have  
      kept some as souvenirs but luckily told Mr Ellis of the  
      While Stapleton & I were at work Mrs Stapleton was pressed  
      also (     ) and children (     )  
      As the hoard now belonged to the Societe I determined to  
      collect all I could & take them back with me, though  
      Stapleton was anxious to take them to his house for  
      examination. (     ) Seives were employed to separate the  
      <^coins from the> sandy soil and I filled up an attache case and about  
      1/2 of a ~builders? sack with the coins. (     ) I wrapped up in paper all the  
      crushed metal I could find as well as some vegetable  
      matter and pottery found in or at the side of the trench  
      and with the help of a labourer carried the masses to the  
      car (     ) Stapleton <^agreed to take> took charge of future operations and  
      call in Godfray to help him and at his suggestion I  
    Lomax {"Lomax", unconnected word in left margin}
      left 2 or 3 handsful of coins for Godfray to see  
      This was perfectly unnecessary as some 500 more  
      coins were found during the afternoon, derived from  
      digging out the ~surviving? part of the cache which I had  
      examined and seeing the neighbouring dumps  
      Mr (     ) drove me home where I arrived at about 1  
      I carried the coins from the car to my back garden.  
      Though the distance <^was> is short found the weight was as much as  
      I could manage  
      I then telephoned to Guiton & he came out early in the  
      afternoon [to exam] (     ) A reporter from the Evening Post then  
      [called] arrived & took down details (see E P for Ap 24  
      Next morning (25th) I took the coins, which filled three buckets,  
      first to the Kings Weights where their weight was ascertained to be  
      161 pounds & then to the Museum. (     ) There we found  

    {Page 3} that about 75 coins went to the pound and  
      that therefore the total recovered, (including the 800  
      still with Stapleton) -- amounted to about 12,000  
      They, the pottery, the vegetable matter & the crushed  
      metal were then locked up in an exhibition case  
      & placed in the Art Gallery  

    Manuscript: First Page Manuscript: Second Page Manuscript:Third Page Manuscript: Rybot's Diagram