Tony Williams, Coroner for Somerset, will hold an inquest on Thursday 22nd July on one of the largest Roman coin hoards ever found in Britain, the Portable Antiquities Scheme funded by the Museums, Libraries and Archive Council and Somerset County Council has reported.
Dave Crisp, found the hoard of some 52,500 coins dating to the 3rd century AD, while metal-detecting near Frome, and reported the find to his local Finds Liaison Officer. Initially Mr Crisp found 21 coins, but when he came across a pot filled with more knew he needed archaeological help to excavate them.
Anna Booth, Somerset County Council’s Finds Liaison Officer, said:
Because Mr Crisp resisted the temptation to dig up the coins it has allowed archaeologists from Somerset County Council to carefully excavate the pot and its contents, ensuring important evidence about the circumstances of its burial was preserved”.
Mr Crisp added :
I knew the find was important and I needed archaeological help, so I contacted my local Finds Liaison Officer. I have made many finds over the years, but this is my first coin hoard and it was a fascinating experience to take part in the excavation of it.”
Archaeologists believe the hoard, which sheds light on the economic crisis and coalition government in the 3rd century, will rewrite the history books. One of the most important aspects of the hoard is that it contains a large group of coins of Carausius, who ruled Britain independently from AD 286 to AD 293 and was the first Roman emperor to strike coins in Britain. The hoard contains over 760 of his coins, making it the largest group of his coins ever found. Amongst these coins are five rare examples of his silver denarii, the only coins of their type being struck anywhere in the Roman Empire at the time.
The coins span 40 years from AD 253 to 293 and the great majority are of the denomination known as ‘radiates’, made of debased silver or bronze.
The hoard is probably the equivalent of about four years’ pay for a legionary soldier.
Roger Bland, Head of Portable Antiquities and Treasure at the British Museum said:
This hoard, which is one of the largest ever found in Britain, has a huge amount to tell about the coinage and history of the period as we study over the next two years. The late 3rd century AD was a time when Britain suffered barbarian invasions, economic crises and civil wars. Roman rule was finally stabilised when the Emperor Diocletian formed a coalition with the Emperor Maximian, which lasted 20 years. This defeated the separatist régime which had been established in Britain by Carausius. This find presents us with an opportunity to put Carausius on the map. School children across the country have been studying Roman Britain for decades, but are never taught about Carausius – our lost British emperor”.
Full story here.