Nieuwe gegevens betreffende de muntvondst van Midlum van 1925


  • A. Ufkes


In 1925 a small hoard of 5th/6th eentury Byzantine solidi was found near Midlum in Friesland. This hoard has been published several times (Boeles, 1927; 1951; Zadoks-Josephus Jitta, 1960; Van der Vin, 1992). Recently it was discovered that the archives of the B.A.I. and of Mr. P.C.J.A. Boeles contain additional information regarding the number of coins, the find circumstances and the way in which the majority of these coins were acquired by the Fries Museum. In particular. the role of Dr. A.E. van Giffen, director of the B.A.l., was most peculiar.

The hoard was found in the terp Middelstein, west of Midlum, during waterpipe construction works. The coins were sold by the finder, partly through an intermediate, to the Fries Museum (2), to Dr. van Giffen (12) and to a jeweller in Harlingen (1). It is possible, however. that coins were sold to other people, as well. Apart from that it is likely that the intermediate got one or more coins for his services. Van Giffen sold 11 of his coins to the Fries Museum, on the condition that 2 'duplicates' were returned to him. What happened to the three coins in Van Giffen's possession. is unknown. The Fries Museum also acquired the coin bought by the jeweller. This means that the hoard consisted of at least 15, but probably more, coins of which 12 are in the possession of the Fries Museum.

An interview with the son of the jeweller revealed that his father had bought a small ceramic vessel together with the solidus. This pot was still owned by the family, but presented to the author on behalf of the Fries Museum. It is likely that this was in fact the container in which the solidi were hidden during the 6th century.