Medieval treasure unearthed at the Abbey of Cluny

Related Articles

Related Articles

A large medieval treasure has been unearthed during excavations last September at the Abbey of Cluny, a former Benedictine monastery in Cluny, Saône-et-Loire, France.

The discovery has already been named the largest cache of silver deniers discovered, numbering 2,200 deniers and oboles, in addition to 21 Islamic gold dinars, a signet ring and several other objects made from gold.  The treasure was buried in fill where it seems to have stayed for 850 years.

Anne Baud, an academic at the Université Lumière Lyon 2, and Anne Flammin, a CNRS engineer—both from the Laboratoire Archéologie et Archéométrie (CNRS / Université Lumière Lyon 2 / Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University) — led the archaeological investigation, in collaboration with a team of 9 students from the Université Lumière Lyon 2 and researchers from the Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée Jean Pouilloux (CNRS / Université Lumière Lyon 2).

 

Signet ring with intaglio. Credit: Alexis Grattier-Université Lumière Lyon 2

Vincent Borrel, a PhD student at the Archaeology and Philology of East and West (CNRS / ENS) research unit—AOROC for short—is currently studying the treasure in more detail to identify and date the various pieces with greater precision.

A spokesman for the discovery stated “This is an exceptional find for a monastic setting and especially that of Cluny, which was one of the largest abbeys of Western Europe during the Middle Ages. It includes items of remarkable value: 21 gold dinars and a signet ring, a very expensive piece of jewelry that few could own during the Middle Ages.

At that time, Western currency was mostly dominated by the silver denier and Gold coins were reserved for rare transactions. The 2,200 or so silver deniers struck at Cluny or nearby would have been for everyday purchases.”

Gold dinar. Credit: Alexis Grattier-Université Lumière Lyon 2

Abbey of Cluny 

The abbey was constructed in the Romanesque architectural style, with three churches built in succession from the 4th to the early 12th centuries. The earliest basilica was the world’s largest church until the St. Peter’s Basilica construction began in Rome.

Cluny was founded by William I, Duke of Aquitaine in 910. He nominated Berno as the first Abbot of Cluny, subject only to Pope Sergius III. The abbey was notable for its stricter adherence to the Rule of St. Benedict, whereby Cluny became acknowledged as the leader of western monasticism.

The establishment of the Benedictine Order was a keystone to the stability of European society that was achieved in the 11th century. In 1790 during the French Revolution, the abbey was sacked and mostly destroyed, with only a small part of the Abbey surviving.

CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange)

Header Image Credit – Credit: Vincent Borrel-AorOc

 

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic

LATEST NEWS

Giant Sand Worm Discovery Proves Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

Simon Fraser University researchers have found evidence that large ambush-predatory worms--some as long as two metres--roamed the ocean floor near Taiwan over 20 million years ago.

Burial Practices Point to an Interconnected Early Medieval Europe

Early Medieval Europe is frequently viewed as a time of cultural stagnation, often given the misnomer of the 'Dark Ages'. However, analysis has revealed new ideas could spread rapidly as communities were interconnected, creating a surprisingly unified culture in Europe.

New Starfish-Like Fossil Reveals Evolution in Action

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have discovered a fossil of the earliest starfish-like animal, which helps us understand the origins of the nimble-armed creature.

Mars Crater Offers Window on Temperatures 3.5 Billion Years Ago

Once upon a time, seasons in Gale Crater probably felt something like those in Iceland. But nobody was there to bundle up more than 3 billion years ago.

Early Humans Used Chopping Tools to Break Animal Bones & Consume the Bone Marrow

Researchers from the Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University unraveled the function of flint tools known as 'chopping tools', found at the prehistoric site of Revadim, east of Ashdod.

50 Million-Year-Old Fossil Assassin Bug Has Unusually Well-Preserved Genitalia

The fossilized insect is tiny and its genital capsule, called a pygophore, is roughly the length of a grain of rice.

Dinosaur-Era Sea Lizard Had Teeth Like a Shark

New study identifies a bizarre new species suggesting that giant marine lizards thrived before the asteroid wiped them out 66 million years ago.

The Iron Age Tribes of Britain

The British Iron Age is a conventional name to describe the independent Iron Age cultures that inhabited the mainland and smaller islands of present-day Britain.

Popular stories

The Iron Age Tribes of Britain

The British Iron Age is a conventional name to describe the independent Iron Age cultures that inhabited the mainland and smaller islands of present-day Britain.

The Roman Conquest of Wales

The conquest of Wales began in either AD 47 or 48, following the landing of Roman forces in Britannia sent by Emperor Claudius in AD 43.

Vallum Antonini – The Antonine Wall

The Antonine Wall (Vallum Antonini) was a defensive wall built by the Romans in present-day Scotland, that ran for 39 miles between the Firth of Forth, and the Firth of Clyde (west of Edinburgh along the central belt).

Vallum Aulium – Hadrian’s Wall

Hadrian’s Wall (Vallum Aulium) was a defensive fortification in Roman Britannia that ran 73 miles (116km) from Mais at the Solway Firth on the Irish Sea to the banks of the River Tyne at Segedunum at Wallsend in the North Sea.