Commission #3: ‘Buried Treasure’ ~ Discovery
Biggleswade’s development dates from the Saxon invaders settled in the area circa 5th Century AD. Scholars believe that the name Biggleswade is derived from a joining of ‘Biceil’, an Anglo-Saxon personal name and ‘Waed’, the Saxon word for ford. King’s Reach itself, like the adjacent Saxon Gate housing estate started in the 1990s, appears to be on the location of the old hamlet of Stratton and its surrounding fields, including the original Kings Field behind Stratton School.
In 2001 a gold coin bearing the name Coenwulf was discovered at Biggleswade on a footpath beside the River Ivel. It is only the eighth known Anglo-Saxon gold coin dating to the mid to late Anglo-Saxon period. The coin was auctioned for £230,000 later that year, then in 2006 it was bought by the British Museum for £357,832, making it the most expensive British coin purchased until that date.
This theme invites artists to consider the thrill of discovering previously buried treasure in everyday surroundings. This can be explored further in terms of the remains of the past in the present; the notion of treasure trails (potentially with clues pointing to a single ‘x’ marking the spot); and the potential rewards for being observant.