M6 – The Haunted Motorway

October 27, 2008 at 11:12 am 50 comments

piper

Does anyone know anything about the ghost that apparently haunts the M6 motorway around junction 17 at Sandbach?

I was at a social function at the weekend and chatting to a traffic cop who works the motorways of Cheshire. There have been a number of fatalities on the M6 motorway recently and the stretch between junctions 16 (Crewe) and 19 (Knutsford) is a well-known accident blackspot. I have never understood this as it is a perfectly straight stretch of road with few distractions at the side. So, the policeman was asked to explain why.

Apparently, this stretch of the motorway is haunted. The locals and the policeman all agreed that many of the accidents had been caused by drivers who had been distracted by ghostly apparitions. Now, those of you who know me will realise that I am a sucker for a good ghost story and believe that I have witnessed at least one myself (read all about that here).

The story goes that a Scottish Army was camped near the site of the now derelict Saxon Cross Hotel, which is just off the M6 junction 17, while retreating from the Battle of Worcester, where it had been in support of King Charles II. It is said that his army was attacked and massacred by the locals of Sandbach, and that a lone Bagpiper haunts the site and is often viewed by motorists on the motorway that was subsequently built through the middle of the site.

There are often claims that the M6 is the most haunted road in Britain and I would so like the story to be true, but I can find no information on the web to corroborate the story. Indeed, I can find evidence which suggest that the story was somewhat different. For sure, a Scottish army was in the area in 1651 and there were skirmishes with the locals. But, most reports put the number of Scottish dead at less than 10, but possible one hundred prisoners were taken. But, these events took place in the centre of the town near the present-day market. And, this could hardly be termed a massacre.

The only other notable apparition associated with Sandbach that I could find is at the Old Hall Hotel, which is also close to falling down , as featured in the Most Haunted TV Programme. And the Old Hall was built some five years after King Charles’ army passed through the town.

Can anyone else shed any light on the “myth”? Do you have any other stories of hauntings in the vicinity of the M6 around the Sandbach area?

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50 Comments Add your own

  • 1. erik  |  October 27, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Surely whether something is a massacre is a matter of perspective. Had you been one of the ten, perhaps your ghost would consider it a massacre (to the extent that ghosts consider things).

    The so-called Boston Massacre, revered by Americans as a precipitating event in our war of independence, saw only five dead.

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  • 2. Middle Man  |  October 27, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Hi, Erik,

    But, as we all know, you Americans are occasionally prone to slight exageration.

    BTW, the BBC Conspiracy Files last night featured tower 7 at the World Trade Centre. So, what do you reckon – inside job or what?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7488159.stm

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  • 3. word2yomama  |  October 27, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    My Malaysian friend said it is an unwritten rule that you don’t pick up hitch hikers you see on highways that go through the country side as they are ghosts (and the fact that its dangerous!!)

    There’s one stretch of highway that is particularly spooky or dodgy because of the number of accidents and deaths there during its construction.

    There was a story about picking up a hitchhiker who suddenly removed his own head.

    But Asia is full of ghost stories.

    In Hong Kong there is an urban myth about a particular bus route and underground train line that runs an “extra service” at the end of the night for ghosts. e.g you pick them up at the stop but they just diappear while inside.

    Liked by 1 person

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  • 4. Julyman  |  October 28, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    I don’t believe in paranormal. Prove it. Nobody can prove it.

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    • 5. Anonymous  |  February 3, 2012 at 11:32 am

      Try the ouji board in yr own hme see if that prove the point bwt demons.

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  • 6. shaun chambers  |  November 1, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    very spooky stuff!

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  • 7. vicky  |  May 12, 2009 at 10:48 am

    My friend who lives close to the accident black spot has heard the bagpipes playing on one occasion. Her freind also heard them two years later both heard it coming from the same direction.
    spooky!

    Liked by 1 person

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    • 8. Middle Man  |  May 12, 2009 at 10:52 am

      Vicky, thanks for popping in and leaving a comment. Spooky indeed.

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  • 9. the lone piper  |  March 3, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    I am the lone piper and I am writing this from beyond the grave. Ya blaggards had better heed the warning of the piper as death will befall anyone who sees the piper. keep your eyes on the road laddie…………wooooooooooooooo

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    • 10. Middle Man  |  March 8, 2010 at 1:23 pm

      It seems that our Scottish piper has morphed into Jack Sparrow……I think I’ll sleep soundly enough.

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  • 11. carlie  |  July 31, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    I was driveing along the M6 just passed junction 17 and seen a black shadow what looked like a person running accross the motorway .

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    • 12. Anonymous  |  July 31, 2010 at 12:39 pm

      That will have been Hamish!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  • 13. martin  |  September 10, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    or is it just that there are no lights on that section of motorway which makes driving a lot harder. does not count for daytime accidents I know but still a valid point I think.

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  • 14. anon  |  September 12, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Well there’s something wrong for sure, 3 acidents in 3 days and aleast 3 fatalities. A girl my partner knows saw the first and said the lorry just pulled to the side and back 4 no reason hitting the two padestrians. Very strange

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    • 15. Anonymous  |  September 13, 2010 at 12:36 pm

      Tell me about it. My poor wife was stuck on the M6 for 7 hours, travelling just two junctions, due to this accident.

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      • 16. James  |  October 9, 2010 at 1:40 pm

        I am sorry about your “poor wife”.

        Try and remember people were dead at the accident.

        It might put things into perspective.

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  • 17. James  |  October 9, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    My brother and 2 friends were travelling to Blackpool for 2 days on 1 October (a few years ago). Just after junction 17, they had a a tyre burst and stopped on the hard shoulder to replace it.

    Within 4 minutes they were all killed by a tanker driver who had “fallen asleep” according to the corriner and “drifted” on to the hard shoulder.

    I was in my teens and had to do all the identification and will never get over what I saw.

    RIP

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  • 18. sophie  |  December 8, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    I live in Sandbach and the old hall is haunted by the gray lady. At the turn of the 20th century the old hall was being refurbished and the body of a baby was found sealed up in one of the Walls.the Gray Lady is said to morn the her dead baby.
    On a more historical note the old hall contains a priest hole that connects to st marys church opposite. This is from the catholic reformation around 1500

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  • 19. Middle Man  |  December 9, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Hi Sophie, thanks for popping in and passing on the information!

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  • 20. Anonymous  |  October 20, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    The Saxon Cross is derelict! We used to stay there all the time, en route from Scotland to Birmingham and back for shopping trips. I know that’s a bad stretch of motorway; my mum had a really nasty accident just after J16 25 years ago. I can remember watching her taillights as she left our village and thinking ‘That’s the last time I will ever see that car.’ I was right; the car was a write-off. Three red cars were involved in accidents that day within thirty minutes of each other, too, around 7 am. Mum was told she didn’t hit anyone else by a lorry driver, but the police and the magistrates disagreed! A tyre burst and the bonnet flew up into the windscreen. She lost control of the car and hit the central reservation and ended up facing north on the southbound carriageway. 50 odd stitches across her forehead, broken nose, several broken ribs, cuts and bruises.

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  • 21. Kt  |  November 1, 2011 at 7:51 am

    I am a truck driver, i do trunk from glasgow to Runcorn/birmingham & stafford. I am on nightshift 4/5 nights a week! We are all doubled maned so i have proof enough! Both my 2nd man & i witnessed a figure apear in the lane infront of us!! I swerved to avoid what i could c was a man dressed in clothes that existed hundreds of years ago! My 2nd man to this day refuses to talk about it, but tells me for sure we went straight thru him!! I listened for days on the news of any bodies found, i even stopped that night to check for damage incase i had hit som1 but NNOTHING!!!! Is this not proof enough! 2 sets of eyes, both explaining the same description of the rite old dress wear..He apeared out of nowhere, crossing 2 lanes infront of us. Xoxo

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  • 22. Catherine  |  November 8, 2011 at 12:14 am

    Yes,I can confirm that there was a very peculiar and eerie sighting on this stretch of motorway by my parents.back in 1983 they were travelling from our home in Lancaster down the m6 to relatives in Bedfordshire.somewhere around that particular area they suddenly noticed a car,stationary and completely burnt out on the hard shoulder,facing south.whilst passing it they both saw to their horror that an elderly man and woman were sat bolt upright in the car,motionless and wearing 60’s type clothes.
    At the time no other motorist appeared to notice this disturbing sight.but my parents both saw it and were shaken by it.ive often thought of this account over the years.would love to know if anyone has seen anything similar.

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    • 23. Dave P  |  November 10, 2014 at 2:20 am

      i was about 12 and seen it….or thought i had. asked my mum who was driving and she didnt see it on the south bound carrageway. trumph 2000 or similar burnt out and driver wearing tweedy jacket and hat….just sat in it

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      • 24. Middle Man  |  November 10, 2014 at 8:25 am

        Thanks for sharing your memory. Spooky!

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  • 25. Middle Man  |  November 10, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Thanks Catherine.

    This reminds me of a similarly spooky expereince.

    I remember when I was young, about eight, my uncle visiting as he passed our door on his way back from work. He was white as a sheet. He told a story that he was walking home when he saw a young man, disheveled and in a state of distress, sitting on the curb at the side of the road. He approached him and asked if he was OK. He said that he was, but had been in an accident. At that moment my uncle heard a crash just a few yards behind him. He rushed to the vehicle. It was a fatality……..and the dead driver was the young man that my uncle swears he had just been talking to.

    Even writing this now make sthe hairs on the back of my neck stand up…….

    Liked by 1 person

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    • 26. Catherine  |  February 28, 2012 at 11:36 pm

      Hi.sorry,I’ve only just seen your reply now..that really is a very scary story.I can quite imagine how this would make anyone go cold at just the thought of it..I do love a good ghost story,but of course I would like to mention that these stories are the result of fatalities.God rest those poor people.

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  • 27. Anonymous  |  January 22, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    I live in the area. We often hear storys of accidents on the m6 (Accidents which often involve fatalaties) And i have i heard a few ghost story. A lone figure standing in the road and once the story of a burnt out car on the hard shoulder. I suppose as more die on the roads, the more sightings their will be. Sad really. The scariest thing ive heard about the m6 is a friend of a friend’s story. Did you hear about the accident where a lorry swerved hitting 2 people trying to fix a car? Supposedly he saw the apperition of the event a day before it actually happened.

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  • 28. Anonymous  |  July 7, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    I have seen a guy playing bagpipes on the banking of the hard shoulder of the M60! ….I thought it was bizarre and googled it when I got home to see if anyone else had seen him …that’s when I found this page!

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  • 29. Kath  |  December 27, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    A garage owner went out on a breakdown not long after the M6 was opened, he was tending the vehicle when he was fataly hit by another vehicle, this Gents garage was on Nantwich Rd in Middlewich, and it was the stretch of road between Kntsford and Sandbach. I always wonder whether Bill is present when these accidents occcur.

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  • 30. Black Rat  |  February 10, 2013 at 8:00 am

    I worked on the M6 in Staffordshire as a Traffic bobby for around ten years and, even though our area finished at junction 16 – so not 17 northwards as you are mentioning – we had plenty of incidents. Public calling in in the day time about a hitch hiker who was thumbing a lift on the northbound carriageway prior to Keele services. He was a classic biker with an open faced helmet and gauntlet gloves, a long coat and goggles. No bike. I attended reports of this several times and so did others. Many years before a classic bike was found leaning up against the barrier by the hard shoulder, no one with it – the vehicle was recovered and no one came forward. Some years after, road workers were clearing the undergrowth and came across a body wearing the same classic biker clothing. It appears that the biker had more than likely collided with the barrier and been thrown off into the undergrowth and not been found – the bike remained propped against the barrier. Lots of report of him. One bloke came running to the police post at Keele services whilst we were having our breakfast – and he was white and shaking – he had stopped to pick up a hitch hiker – when he turned to talk to him he in his car he was not there.
    I have often wondered how haunted Keele to 16 is as that is where most of our fatals are in Staffordshire – all unlit and bendy.
    Lots of reports around there!

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    • 31. Middle Man  |  February 10, 2013 at 11:00 am

      Hi Black Rat, fascinating and spooky. Thanks for popping in and leaving a comment.

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  • 32. Anonymous  |  August 3, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Apparently there is ghost of a young man just south of the services M6 at Sandbach – he apparently flagged down a police traffic car in a pile p at night in the rain, the pc told him to go into the services, drove up to the accident looked at the fatality and it was the young man…. North bound has more crossing ghosts or stood on hard shoulder for some reason – yep I’m Sandbach resident

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  • 33. Andy  |  November 7, 2013 at 5:33 am

    For many years I have avoided the M6 between Jct 15 & Jct 16 because of the volume of accidents / fatalities here, although there have been occasions that I have dared to use it but it has made me feel rather edgy.

    It is now 4.50 AM, I have been awake since around 2.30 AM as I have heard quite a bit of helicopter activity and sensed that there maybe problems on the M6.

    I live in Bignall End which lies a few miles from the M6 between 16 & 15.. I lay in bed listening to the sound of what I believed to be the Air Ambulance when i got to thinking of all those poor accident victims of which have perrished on this unforgiving stretch of road.

    I am a believer in paranormal activity and wondered if there were lost spirits here which are far away from home with no way back. I have just looked on the internet to find out if there are any problems on this stretch of the motorway but there doesn’t seem to be any according to reports but whilst looking I stumbled on a number of really interesting blogs about the M6 in Cheshire.

    An Ex Traffic Police officer mentioned earlier, there are many twists & turns and not much lighting on parts of the Motorway which for anyone who doesn’t know the road it could be quite daunting… I have said for a number of years that the North & Southbound Carriageways from Jct 15 to Jct 17 should be restricted to a maximum speed limit of 50 MPH, also a number of signs should be installed warning “Accident Blackspot” and these should also state the number of fatalities over a period of time.

    LETS TELL PEOPLE FROM OUT OF THE AREA WHAT THIS ROAD IS LIKE. Some would say that a Speed Restriction would cause traffic congestion but I suppose the same people would get upset with Airlines for stepping up their security systems against Terrorism which would obviously have a knock on affect on waiting times…I look at things in Black and White as I do with Life and Death and LIFE must always come first….

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    • 34. Middle Man  |  November 7, 2013 at 8:48 am

      Thank you for commenting. While always putting LIFE first, it is interesting to wonder why the dead linger in this spot…..

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  • 35. Anonymous  |  February 27, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    I lived in sandbach for many years from a young child. Very strange place to live and some very strange things always have happened in sandbach. I heard on many occasions the piper, I lived in cookesmere lane, we could hear the motorway from there on many nights depending on which way the wind was blowing or not blowing. I still love sandbach it’s haunted you can not deny that fact when you have lived there. My friends still live there it draws you back. Lots of history in sandbach time will never change that.

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    • 36. Middle Man  |  February 28, 2014 at 8:31 am

      Thank you for visiting and taking the time to reply. It cannot be a coincidence that Yvette Fielding of Most Haunted “infamy” chose to live in Sandbach…..Spooky!

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  • 37. Debra Jones Draper  |  June 15, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    Around September 2009 my daughters and i were driving towards Southport from Blackpool on the M6. We seen a couple running from the field on the opposite side of the road, the crouched down on the central reservation, the popped back up and ran right across us to the other side. The moment seemed to last a long time, like time had stopped. I remember the lady having a kind of bobbed hairstyle, she was in her underwear. The underwear looked more apt to the 60’s 70’s.. The guy was trousers possible jeans with no shirt.. The woman leaned against the fence, then turned ad looked at us! Again, it was like time stopped. When we’d composed ourselves we rang the police. They called back the next day to say there were no reports of an incident, and no other reports of anything like this?

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    • 38. Middle Man  |  June 16, 2014 at 8:48 am

      Thanks Debra. How strange! A little different from the lonely piper usually seen…..

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  • 39. Anonymous  |  August 4, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    We drive this stretch of the motorway A LOT and have never felt safe once we pass junction 19 towards 16. To the point that We try and avoid it just because we never feel safe once past 19. We live in the area but have never heard any of the stories on here but I have to say I would believe them just because of our experiences on there. We have often wondered if it was built on land that was already haunted and that has been the cause of many more fatalities resulting in more hauntings. Anyway my point was we feel the un easy feeling when driving on that bit of road so try and avoid it.

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    • 40. Middle Man  |  August 4, 2014 at 3:50 pm

      Thanks for the comment. Best to be safe than sorry….and you don’t want to end up in Stoke

      😉

      Liked by 1 person

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  • 41. Anonymous  |  August 21, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    I have just driven southbound and had to swerve to avoid ‘something’ crossing the carriageway from the northbound side. I live in Sandbach & have never heard these stories before, but my passenger, who also saw something was aware of the tales… Scared me so much…

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    • 42. Middle Man  |  August 22, 2014 at 12:57 pm

      Glad you are safe. What do you think you saw?

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  • 43. Steven Houchin  |  January 13, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    Love all these stories but also very interested in the facts and proving once and for all exactly where final burial site and resting place of the scots who were killed is.
    Some people say that ‘Piper’s Hollow’ isn’t near to this site on the M6 and closer to Sandbach Heath, Hassall Green or Malkins Bank. I believe the bodies could still be either side of the motorway judging by some of the names assigned to plots of land in that area on very old maps.

    Liked by 1 person

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    • 44. Middle Man  |  January 15, 2015 at 1:58 pm

      Thanks for this Steven. Fascinating indeed….

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      • 45. Steven Houchin  |  January 15, 2015 at 9:37 pm

        Keep your eye on my blog, I have some further information about 2 exact plots of land where the bodies were laid to rest nearly 400 years ago

        Like

  • 46. Anonymous  |  November 6, 2015 at 12:14 am

    It is true that around 10 Scottish soldiers lost their lives in sandbach and they were buried on sandbach common were the market is held. But their remains were moved when the common’s cobbles were removed and redone for the car park area that is there today. Their remains were re-buried in a field off junction 17. Do I need to say anymore!!!

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  • 47. rwbroomhall0  |  January 11, 2016 at 11:43 am

    Live on Sandbach Heath and, one tale I heard many years ago was the Pipers Hollow in question is on the A534 but, down by Arclid sand quarry. (Just another destination for the “Piper”!

    Liked by 2 people

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  • 48. Middle Man  |  October 31, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Reblogged this on Middle Man and commented:

    As it’s Hallowe’en….

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  • 49. Steven Foggon  |  January 2, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    Hi, had to write as I’ve been looking for more information on this area . My friends are renting a property on the dukes oak farm estate next to leisure sales. This is near the m6 and to say there are many unexplained occurances would be an understatement. I have experienced sudden cold spots whilst visiting but the house (and the neighboring ones according to other residents ) is very active. Ranging from black mist appearing, dogs stareing at certain area, heavy foot steps at night and banging on doors, beds being sat on at night.. and more. Relating to your story, there is a figure of a man appears on the lane, and there is a drummer sound that can be heard ( a drummer boy is reputed to haunt the area ) and bagpipes have been heard. My friend was a sceptic but not any more. This is ongoing as I write!

    Liked by 1 person

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    • 50. Steven Houchin  |  January 3, 2017 at 9:46 am

      Hi Steve, I must say I’m more focussed on the historical significance of local areas rather than the paranormal activity but I have to admit it was all the ghost stories which initially sparked my interest to research this particular area.

      The historical significance of the plot of land you have stated goes way beyond the English civil war period and all the way back to the Roman occupation of the area.

      A very specific area on that plot of land was the location of the areas most significant finds, which was a hoard of Roman coins. Please see my blog post about the discovery;
      https://historyug.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/the-bradwall-hoard/

      I have metal detected the fields next to this area and also been over to pinpoint the location where the coins were found using old maps which dated back to the 1800s.

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