Massive Roman Coin Find from Wiltshire

What will likely be a pile of coverage just starting on this one … here’s  the incipit what the Telegraph says:

David Crisp, a 63-year-old hospital chef, located the 52,503 coins in a single earthenware pot in a field near Frome, Somerset.

Mr Crisp, from Devizes in Wiltshire, said his detector gave a “funny signal” prompting him to dig down and have a look.

What he found was an astonishing collection of coins from the 3rd century AD, a period barely touched in most history books on Roman Britain.

“The joy of metal detecting is that you never know what you will find,” said Mr Crisp, who has been sweeping the fields for 20 years.

“I always live in hope but didn’t expect to find something like this.”

All the coins had been left in a single two-foot-high pot. At 160kg – just over 25 stone – the haul weighs as much as two fully grown men.

It is slightly smaller than the largest ever British Roman coin hoard, of 54,912 pieces, found in two pots near Marlborough, Wilts, in 1978.

A selection of the Frome coins, found in April, is to go on display at the British Museum from July 22 until mid-August.

Roger Bland, its head of portable antiquities and treasure, said 766 coins were from the reign of the “lost” British emperor Carausius, who ruled the province from 286 to 293 without the authority of Rome.

Carausius fell out of favour with the Roman Emperor Maximian after he used his Channel fleet to amass enormous wealth by capturing pirate ships.

Maximian ordered his execution but the rebel refused to submit and ruled Britain and northern Gaul in defiance of Rome.

He became the first emperor to strike coins in Britain, which he did to affirm his legitimacy. Five of the Carausius coins are solid silver, the first such pure coins minted anywhere in the Roman empire in over 150 years.

Despite the Frome haul’s quantity, most are a relatively common denomination known as ‘radiates’, made of debased silver and bronze. The haul is likely to be worth around £250,000, given prices for individual coins. […]

The BBC has a nice little video interview with the finder, which includes some good shots of what was found and which also causes one to think that we really need to start using a word other than ‘hoard’ to describe these things ….

Daniel Pett (of Portable Antiquities fame) has an excellent/extensive photoset of coins from the hoard at Flickr

Other coverage:

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