ARCHAEOLOGISTS working on the HS2 rail line have uncovered a rare set of Iron Age potins, an early version of the coin, dating back to the 1st Century BC.

The hoard of more than 300 potins is a significant historical find and was discovered in Hillingdon in August last year. The find may be recognized as “treasure” under British Law.

The Hillingdon Hoard – as it has been called – dates back to the late Iron Age, during a period of change as the Romans began to establish themselves in Britain and created Londinium.

Archaeologists believe the potins may have been used to mark the boundary of a property or as an offering to the Gods - in a woodland clearing or near a sacred spring.

It is not unusual for a hoard to be found in an apparently isolated location and they may also have been buried as saving hoards or as emergency hoards in times of crisis.

The site in Hillingdon was being excavated when a storm changed ground conditions and revealed where the coins were buried.

HS2 bisects Hillingdon at South Ruislip, Ickenham and Harefield before bearing north into Bucks.

Emma Tetlow, Historic Environment Lead for contractor Skanska Costain said: This is a once-in-a-lifetime find and allows us to expand our knowledge of what life could have been like in Hillingdon many centuries ago.”

A coroner will determine whether the discovery amounts to ‘treasure’ after considering specialist evidence from the British Museum.