5406 Roman Coin find in Somerset

Roman Coin find in Somerset

Posted: 2010-07-08

Roman Coin find in Somerset

A hobbyist armed with a metal detector has discovered a huge hoard of 3rd-century Roman coins in a field near Frome, Somerset. As reported in a BBC news article, Dave Crisp, from Devizes, discovered a clay jar containing over 52,000 Roman coins while searching in the field this April.

The jar was buried about 14 inches below the surface. Though the jar was only about 18 inches wide, the coins were so tightly packed within the jar that the hoard weighed roughly 160 kilograms (about 350 pounds).

When coin hoards are found, the usual explanation is that the owner either lost them, hid them intentionally and intended to return for them later. However, in the case of the Frome hoard, experts suggest that they were part of a ritual offering, that is, that community members put a coin contribution into the jar as part of some kind of ceremonial observance.

If the coin hoard is declared a treasure, the Museum of Somerset will be able to acquire them at market value, with the proceeds shared between Mr Crisp and the land owner.

The story of the horde and the subsequent archaeological excavation will be broadcast on the new BBC Two series of Digging for Britain, scheduled for August.

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