Roman coins hoard found in Somerset, England

Friday, March 23, 2012

It has now emerged that in the past four to five years, approximately thirty thousand silver Roman coins were discovered in the city of Bath, in Somerset, England.

A model of the nearby baths and an adjoining temple, as they would have appeared in Roman times.
Image: Rod Ward.

Archaeologists discovered the coins, which are thought to date back to the year 270, on the site of a new hotel on Beau Street in the city as work was underway 150 metres away from the Roman Baths. The hoard, named as the Beau Street Hoard, is understood to be the fifth largest ever uncovered in the United Kingdom and the greatest one found at a Roman town in the country.

Speaking on behalf of Roman Baths, Stephen Clews stated: "We've put in a request for a formal valuation and then hope to buy the coins to display them at the baths. At the time there was a lot of unrest in the Roman Empire so there may be some explanation for why the coins were hidden away." This discovery was "unusual as it was discovered by professional archaeologists as opposed to an amateur using a metal detector," according to Clews.

The discovered coins were found to be in a large block joined together, increasing the difficulty of establishing what exact kind of coins these are, as well as the total number of them. The hoard has been sent to the British Museum in the capital London where conservators are anticipated to take twelve months or more to analyse the coins.

The Roman Baths is now attempting to accumulate £150,000 (180,000 or US$237,000) in funding so as to allow them to acquire the coins and place them on display.