Some 30,000 silver Roman coins dating back to 270AD, that have reportedly “fused together,” have been found some 450 feet from the historic Roman Baths.
Believed to be the fifth-largest hoard ever to be discovered in the British Isles, the coins have been sent over to the British Museum for clean-up and analysis.
Since the more than 30,000 pieces of silver are now a large block of fused metal, conservators are estimating that the cleanup of the mass of metal and freeing up of coins as well as their identification and cataloging, could easily take up to twelve months!
The Roman Baths are planning to acquire the coins, raising about 150,000 British pounds to cover the costs of the purchase as well as conservation and display of the hoard.
At the time of their discovery in Beau Street, archaeologists were working at the site of the Gainsborough, a new city-center hotel.
The biggest hoard of coins ever to be found in Britain has been the “Frome Hoard” in April of 2010 which comprised over 53,500 coins, by a very lucky prospector and hospital chef, David Crisp, who used a metal detector in a field near a Roman road near Frome in Somerset. Lucky guy!
While many countries have asked that their ancient artifacts be repatriated, interestingly, Italy has never quite said “hand us back our Roman coins!”
The coins were part of legal tender back in Roman times within the Roman Empire. The currency was taken to Britain where it was freely circulated and buried by individuals presumably for “safe-keeping.”
England’s Roman past seems to be the gift that keeps giving! And as they say, “finders, keepers.”