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Ancient hoard of gold Roman coins discovered in plowed UK field

Baku, July 14, AZERTAC

A cache of gold coins found buried on farmland in the United Kingdom has caught the attention of coin experts, who have linked the treasure trove to the Roman Empire, according to Live Science.

So far, metal detectorists have discovered 11 coins on a remote stretch of cultivated field located in Norfolk, a rural county near England's eastern coast, and experts remain hopeful that more could be unearthed in the future.

Damon and Denise Pye, a pair of local metal detectorists, found the first of several gold coins in 2017, after local farmers finished plowing the soil at the end of the harvest season, which made the land prime for exploration. The haul has been dubbed "The Broads Hoard" by local numismatists (coin specialists and collectors), for its geographic location near The Broads, a network of rivers and lakes that run through the English countryside.

"The coins were found scattered around in the plow soil, which has been churned up year after year, causing the soil to be turned over constantly and led to them eventually coming to the surface," said Adrian Marsden, a numismatist at Norfolk County Council who specializes in ancient Roman coins. "The first year, [the Pyes] found four coins, and the following year one more, and then they found a few more the year after that. They've said to me that they think they found the last one, and I always say, 'I bet not.' They're slowly coming to the surface; I think there's more."

Marsden dated the "exceptional" bounty of gold coins to sometime between the first century B.C. and the first century A.D. Interestingly, all of the coins were minted before the Roman conquest, when Britain became occupied by Roman forces starting in A.D. 43 after an invasion launched by Rome's fourth emperor, Claudius.

The farmland where the coins were found sits on land once occupied by the Iceni, a tribe of British Celts. During the Roman invasion, the tribe's leader, Queen Boudica, led a revolt against Roman forces, attempting to drive them off their land in A.D. 60. However, despite their initial success, the queen's army was no match for the Romans, who ultimately won the fight in what is known as the Battle of Watling Street. The defeat led the queen to kill herself, according to the ancient Roman historian Publius Cornelius Tacitus. However, another ancient Roman historian, Cassius Dio, reported that Boudica died of illness.

In an article written by Marsden and published in a recent issue of The Searcher(opens in new tab), a metal detectorist publication, he described there being two types of gold coins in the stash: one type was marked with the portrait of Augustus Caesar, the first emperor of Rome, with Gaius and Lucius, his grandsons and heirs to the throne, on the back of the coin. (However, both grandsons died before they could don the purple and become emperor.) The other also featured Augustus in profile on one side, but with Gaius on horseback on the reverse.

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