10,000 Roman coins unearthed by amateur metal detector enthusiast
At an inquest in Shropshire, a hoard of more than 9,000 Roman coins was declared a treasure.
The coins pot, found by a novice metal detectorist in the Shrewsbury region in 2009, is one of the county’s largest hoards ever discovered.
However, Nic Davies, who discovered the coins, did not have permission to use a detector from the landowner.
The Treasure Valuation Committee is now going to value the hoard and decide how the money is divided between the two.
Mr Davies said he was sheltering from rain close to a public bridleway when he decided to turn on his metal detector.
Having found one or two gunshot cartridges, he then discovered a Roman coin.
He said: “I found three of four coins, then I found a clump of coins, and then all of a sudden coins were just running off my fingers.”
The Coroner for North Shropshire, John Ellery, praised Mr Davies for not disturbing the layers of coins in the pot, although Mr Davies was also criticised for not having permission to use a metal detector on the land.
Peter Reavill, Finds Liaison Officer based at the Shropshire Museum Service, said the pot weighed about 70lbs (31.75kg).
The inquest heard that most of the coins were bronze Nummi – a common coin in Roman Britain – and the hoard was probably equivalent to less than a year’s pay for a Roman legionary soldier.
However the coins may have belonged to one person or a community.
The coins were in distinct layers in a thin jar, with those at the top dating from between 333-335 AD, and the coins at the bottom at least 10 years older.
Dr Eleanor Ghey from the British Museum has studied the coins and said they were an “exceptional” find offering a “fascinating snapshot” of Roman life.
She said: “Whoever buried these coins kept their location secret for a number of years before adding more.”
Fragments of cloth and an iron nail in the pot were possible evidence of a ritual offering.