Last Wednesday, Spanish workers digging water lines in Tomares, a suburb of Seville, unearthed the find of a lifetime: about 1300 pounds of bronze Roman coins, The Washington Post reports. The currency dates back to the 3rd and 4th centuries CE, and appears to have never been in circulation. Therefore, the coins are incredibly well-preserved.
According to the Spanish newspaper El País, the workers were digging near Zaudin Park when they noticed “irregular terrain” inside one of the holes, about 3 feet below the ground. Further investigation yielded 19 small amphora—Roman storage containers generally used for food, olive oil, or wine—filled with coins.
Smithsonian writes that most of the coins were minted with images of the Roman Emperor Constantine, who ruled from 306 to 337 CE, and Maximian, who served as emperor from 286 to 305 CE. They were likely newly minted, and some of them might have been covered in silver.
“It is a unique collection and there are very few similar cases," Ana Navarro, head of Seville’s Museum of Archaeology, reportedly said at a press conference. “I could not give you an economic value, because the value they really have is historical and you can’t calculate that.” However, Navarro does estimate the coins to be worth “certainly several million euros," the Post writes.
Officials have halted work on the water pipes so that archaeologists can excavate the site. However, the jury’s out on whether this Roman coin stash is more spectacular than other long-lost treasure hoards discovered over the past seven years, like the Beau Street Hoard—17,000 Roman coins dating from 32 BC to 274 CE, found in Bath in 2007.
Check out some footage of the rare find above, courtesy of the Associated Press.
[h/t The Washington Post]
Banner image courtesy of YouTube.