1,300 Pounds of Roman Coins Unearthed

In Tomares, Spain, whilst digging ditches and laying pipes, workers unearthed treasure trove.

It seems that sometime in the past, one person (or several people) buried nineteen jars filled with Roman coins in what would become Zaudin Park. Naturally after the find, all work on the park has been halted for now.

Experts consider the discovery as unique. Nine of the nineteen jars (or amphoras) were intact — although several broke during excavation — and all of the jars contained thousands of bronze and silver-coated coins.

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The coins within the jars date from the end of the fourth century. At the time of their burial, they are believed to have been newly minted.

They bear the images of emperors Constantine or Maxmian on one side, and on the other side, the images appear to be from various Roman stories.

The Seville Archaeological Museum had nothing similar to these coins in their collection, and once the coins have been thoroughly examined they will be put on display for the public.

Ana Navarro Ortega, head of the museum, said that they had contacted counterparts in Britain, France, and Italy. Apparently, the Tomares jars are one of the most important finds from the period.

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Excavation of the jars is difficult due to their weight and fragility. “I can assure you that the jugs cannot be lifted by one person because of their weight and the quantity of the coins inside,” Ortega said.

For now, researchers are puzzling over the reason that the jugs were buried in the first place. Currently, there are several theories floating around academic circles.

It is evident that the jars were deliberately concealed. Bricks and ceramic filler were layed over the treasure. One theory, from the Andalusian Department of Culture, for the coins’ existence in such large numbers is that the money was set aside to pay imperial taxes or army levies.

It’s important to note that Rome had begun to conquer Spain in 218 BC.Their rule their continued until the fifth century.

Richard Wiegel, a professor of ancient Greece and Rome at Western Kentucky University suggested that the coins could have been buried during an era of “great discord in the Roman Empire.” This could be likely because it was during the third century that the central authority in Rome broke down. Germanic tribes were a consistent problem, as they invaded the country periodically. On top of that, there were the usual challenges of ruling an empire.

The coins were discovered in Tomares, in southern Spain, and during the time of Roman rule, the area would have been considered a distant land.

When researchers identified the emperors on the coins, it did help to solidify their theories about the coins. If they knew what the political and social climate was during the time of the burial, then it becomes an easier task of formulating hypotheses.

H/T Archaeological Museum of Seville

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