Coins May Have Been Hidden Before 1692 Massacre

Archaeologists find small pot filled with them in Scotland
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2023 11:28 AM CDT
Gold Coins May Have Been Hidden Before 1692 Massacre
Stock image of ancient coins.   (Getty/VeraPetruk)

It appears that Alasdair "Maclain" MacDonald saw trouble coming and stashed away some coins under a fireplace. More than 330 years later, Scottish archaeologists suggest they've found them, reports Live Science. A member of a University of Glasgow team found a small pot filled with the coins inside a hunting lodge in Glencoe that belonged to the MacDonald clan. None of the coins were minted after the 1680s, per the BBC, leading the archaeologists to surmise that they were hidden just before government soldiers massacred about 40 members of the MacDonald family in 1692, including clan chief Alasdair.

The find provides a "rare glimpse of a single, dramatic event," says Dr. Michael Given in a university statement. "Here's what seems an ordinary rural house, but it has a grand fireplace, impressive floor slabs, and exotic pottery imported from the Netherlands and Germany. And they've gathered up an amazing collection of coins in a little pot and buried them under the fireplace." The Glasgow team found 36 silver and bronze coins, all of which were stuffed into a small pot and hidden under the fireplace. The university's Lucy Ankers made the find on her very first archaeological dig.

"I wasn't expecting such an exciting find as one of my firsts, and I don't think I will ever beat the feeling of seeing the coins peeking out of the dirt in the pot," she says. The MacDonalds were on the outs with the powers-that-be because they were late in pledging loyalty to Protestant King William III and were thus labeled rebels. More than 100 government soldiers took part in the attack that came to be known as the Massacre at Glenloe. (More discoveries stories.)

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