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Show Me The Money! History of currency comes to life at Norwich Castle

Johnny Salmon and his two year-old son Jamie looking for treasure in the sand at the Norwich Castle Museum. Picture: Ian Burt

Johnny Salmon and his two year-old son Jamie looking for treasure in the sand at the Norwich Castle Museum. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

Many a parent has told their children that money doesn’t grow on trees, but youngsters discovered it is quite often found beneath the earth at a special event in Norwich Castle.

Reuben Crowter (10) with a metal detector at Norwich Castle Museum. Picture: Ian BurtReuben Crowter (10) with a metal detector at Norwich Castle Museum. Picture: Ian Burt

The Show Me The Money event on Saturday looked at the origins of money, from the days when people used to barter through to today’s modern society, when people can spend away at the tap of a piece of plastic.

There were events throughout the castle, with children particularly relishing the chance to have a go at using a metal detector to find coins buried in sand in the Castle Rotunda.

There was also a treasure hunt through the museum galleries, talks from archaeologists and coin specialists, displays from metal detecting groups and even the chance for children to make their own ‘money’.

Among those displaying genuine finds uncovered from beneath the fields of Norfolk were Steven Carpenter and Damon Pye, the chairman and vice-chairman of the Norwich Detectors, which has been running since 1977.

Looking at some of the old coins on display at the Norwich Castle Museum is Francesca Sablowski (9). Picture: Ian BurtLooking at some of the old coins on display at the Norwich Castle Museum is Francesca Sablowski (9). Picture: Ian Burt

Mr Pye said: “I’ve been metal detecting for 25 years, which is a lot of walking and a lot of digging.

“Everyone who gets into it tends to do so because they want to find treasure, but you soon forget about that and become fascinated by what you find.

“It’s such a feeling when you get something out of the ground and realise you’re the first person to see it for hundreds or maybe thousands of years.”

Numismatist Dr Adrian Marsden gave a talk about how there have been times when money was in short supply - and people in Norfolk took to producing their own coins.

But he said when the law caught up with counterfeiters it could come at quite a cost.

In the 16th century, four men from the Franshams in Norfolk ended up being hanged, drawn and quartered because they forged currency.

The event was the first in a series of Family Saturdays which Norfolk County Council has organised at the museum.

Forthcoming events include Spring, Rabbits, Friends and Relations on March 3, a science day called Transformers on March 17 and a King of the Castle event on March 24.

All of the events run from 10.30am until 3.30pm and are free within the usual admission charge for the museum.

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