600-kilo Roman coin hoard discovered in Spain

Some routine construction in a southern Spanish city recently unearthed a massive, 600-kilogram hoard of bronze Roman coins.

The discovery – “a unique collection, and there are very few similar cases,” according to archaeologists – dates back to the late-third- and early-fourth centuries, when the Roman Empire reigned over the Iberian Peninsula, which both Spain and Portugal call home. The coins were found yesterday inside 19 Roman amphoras (a type of jar) near Zaudín Park, in the town of Tomares, about 10 kilometres west of Seville.

Some of Spain’s historic architecture – including the Aqueduct of Segovia and the Tower of Hercules in Galicia, the world’s oldest Roman lighthouse still in use – were built by the Romans. The country’s rich Roman history doesn’t end there: Spain takes its name from the word ‘Hispania,’ which was the Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula throughout their reign from 218 BC until the early-fifth century.

Ana Navarro, head of the Archaeological Museum of Seville, which is examining the find, couldn’t give an exact value but said the coins were worth at least “several million euros.”

“The majority were newly minted and some of them probably were bathed in silver, not just bronze,” said Navarro, at yesterday’s news conference. “I could not give you an economic value, because the value they really have is historical and you can’t calculate that.”

Importantly, construction has been halted so an archaeological excavation can determine what other treasures, if any, lay beneath the small town of Tomares.

Check back soon for further updates on this massive discovery.

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