Treasure hunter finds huge Roman coin hoard

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LONDON (Reuters) - One of the largest hoards of Roman coins ever found in Britain has been unearthed in a field in Somerset by a metal detector enthusiast.

The stash of some 52,000 coins dating from the third century AD was discovered buried in a large jar close to the picturesque town of Frome.

Dave Crisp from Wiltshire, who found the hoard, said he hit the jackpot after his detector gave “a funny signal.”

“I put my hand in, pulled out a bit of clay and there was a little Radial, a little bronze Roman coin. Very, very small, about the size of my fingernail,” he told BBC radio.

Since its discovery in April, experts from the British Museum have examining the find and local archaeologists have been excavating the site.

Archaeologists believe the coins were probably intended as some kind of votive offering to the gods. The coins are estimated to represent the equivalent of four years’ pay for a legionary soldier.

Because the find is a hoard, it is likely to be declared treasure trove, allowing the local museum to acquire it for the benefit of the nation at market value.

The money paid will be shared by the finder and the owner of the land.

Reporting by Stefano Ambrogi; Editing by Steve Addison