Hoard of Roman coins declared 'treasure' in Shrewsbury

Peter Reavill with the hoard of Roman coins The coins offer a "fascinating snapshot" of Roman life, according to the British Museum

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A hoard of more than 9,000 Roman coins have been declared treasure at an inquest in Shropshire.

The pot of coins, discovered in 2009 by a novice metal detectorist in the Shrewsbury area, is one of the largest hoards ever discovered in the county.

However Nic Davies who found the coins did not have permission from the landowner to use a detector.

The Treasure Valuation Committee will now value the hoard and decide how the money is split 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 gun shot 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).

'Fascinating snapshot'

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.

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