Leominster Roman coin hoard found by Herefordshire metal detector pair
A hoard of more than 500 Roman coins was found by two metal detector enthusiasts in a Herefordshire field, the British Museum has revealed.
The 518 mixed copper coins, found near Leominster, had been placed in cloth bags and hidden in the ground in a leather satchel.
Experts believe the coins were deliberately buried because of unrest or fear of robbery.
The British Museum said it was very rare to find hoards so well-preserved.
'Punched the air'
The hoard was found in July 2013 by paramedics and metal detector enthusiasts Jeremy Daw and Martin Fulloway.
The news of the find has only just been made public by the British Museum.
Mr Fulloway said: "We thought it might be a horse shoe or something rubbish.
"As we were digging down through the soil with our hands, I spotted Jeremy had a handful of Roman coins.
"I said, 'Stop. I think we've got a hoard.'"
Mr Fulloway said four of the coins were stuck to a stone, while others were in the loose soil.
"It's not quite the Staffordshire hoard but for Herefordshire it's nice. For me to have my first Roman hoard, it's a dream come true."
Mr Daw said the coins were possibly buried during a time of unrest in the Roman empire.
"It's been in the ground for 1,700 years and we are the first people to touch it," he said.
"We looked at each other and punched the air."
The earth was x-rayed at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and then examined by the British Museum.
The coins range from from AD 260 to circa 290 and include eight coins of the Britannic Empire.
The hoard was declared treasure trove in June by the Hereford coroner and will now be valued by the British Museum.
The value will then be shared with the two finders, landowner and Hereford and Leominster Museum.
Peter Reavill, a finds officer for the British Museum, said: "This is one of the best-preserved coin hoards I have seen."
He said he hoped funds would be raised to keep the collection in the county.