A first-time treasure hunter is behind one of the largest Roman gold coin hoards ever discovered in the UK – thought to be worth £100,000.
National newspapers reported on Wednesday that the man, from Berkhamsted, had been sold a beginner’s metal detector from the town’s High Street-based Hidden History for £135.
He is reported to have gone back with 40 of the “solidi” coins, dating to the last days of Roman rule in Britain, and asked: “What do I do with this?”
Shop owners David Sewell and Mark Becher reported the find, and then joined a search party on the private land where the coins had been discovered.
The group found 119 more coins on the site to the north of St Albans. The last assignment of these coins to reach Britain arrived in AD 408.
David Thorold, prehistory to Medieval curator at the Verulamium Museum in St Albans, said: “During the period of the Roman occupation of Britain, coins were usually buried for two reasons.
“They were buried as a religious sacrifice to the Gods, or as a secure store of wealth, with the aim of later recovery.
“Threat of war or raids might lead to burial in the latter case, as may the prospect of a long journey, or any other risky activity.
“Gold solidi were extremely valuable coins and were not traded or exchanged on a regular basis. They would have been used for large transactions such as buying land or goods by the shipload.”
Verulamium Museum will be presenting a talk on the Roman gold coins hoard on Thursday, November 1 at 7pm. Tickets cost £7 and are available from the museum on 01727 751810 or firstname.lastname@example.org
> Are you the man who found the coins? Do you know who he is? Contact reporter David O’Neill on 01442 898451.