Warwickshire Hoard

Not sure if we’ve mentioned this one before; it seems to have been found a year or so ago:

Historians investigating a hoard of Roman coins unearthed in south Warwickshire are hoping to ensure they remain in the county – and to solve the mystery of who buried them.

The cache of 1,146 silver denarii dating from 209 BC to 64AD – the largest in the county – was found by metal detector enthusiast Keith Bennett and declared treasure trove last year.

The coins themselves shed light on the brutal and often corrupt machinations of the Roman Empire, but Warmington Heritage Group is trying to find out why they were buried and what they reveal about life in the area in the first century AD.

One theory has it that whoever buried the coins – then around five years’ pay for a Roman soldier – knew that the Emperor Nero was devaluing denarii by lowering the silver content.

Archaeologist David Freke, who has been involved in excavations nearby in 2008, believes whoever did so was a “financially astute” individual effectively gambling on the currency market.

Speaking to Warmington Heritage Group on Monday, Dr Stanley Ireland of Warwick University warned that the collection, currently being valued, should not be broken up and sold to private collectors.

Dr Ireland also explained how some coins’ rarity gave an insight into the political turmoil of the time.

Some, bearing the head of the Emperor Caligula, were recalled after he was murdered. Another double-headed coin shows the young Nero with his mother, whom he later tried to have killed in an ‘accident’, sending soldiers to finish the job when she escaped.

Others, known as ‘tribute’ coins, date from the reign of the Emperor Tiberius and are taken to be the money Jesus referred to when he told people to pay their taxes.

The hoard also contains counterfeits with a low silver content and a north African silver coin dating to the period of the Roman Republic and the Greek Empire.

Although Roman farms have recently been identified in nearby Tysoe, the hoard is the earliest Roman find in Warmington by some 300 years. The village group has applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund to pay for digs that may reveal why a wealthy person would have been there and why that spot – possibly a ditch or inside a building – was chosen.

Warwickshire Museum keeper of archaeology Sara Weir hopes to keep and display the hoard at Warwick Museum. She said: “The potential story behind who collected these coins and buried them is a tantalising clue to what happened here almost 2,000 years ago.”

via Warmington’s buried treasure may reveal what the Romans did for us – Warwick Today – Back to Home Page.

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