Roman coin hoard found in St Albans on display in British Museum

A ROMAN gold coin hoard discovered in St Albans, the second largest find of its kind in the UK, has gone on display at the British Museum.

The 159 late fourth century Roman gold coins, or ‘solidi’, were introduced to the Treasure and hoarding focused Citi Money Gallery on December 4.

Museum assistant Henry Flynn said: “The coins were minted during the final period of Roman control in Britain and there are practically no other comparable finds from this late period so it’s quite an unusual one.”

He added: “If you look closely at the coins in the case, you will see that many of them are still muddy.

“They are all legible and can be identified, but the traces of dirt nicely show that this is a very recent find that came from the ground.”

Richard Abdy, curator of Roman coins at the British Museum, said “This is a hugely exciting find.

“During the period of the Roman occupation of Britain, coins were usually buried for two reasons; as a religious sacrifice to the Gods, or as a secure store of wealth, with the aim of later recovery.

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“The late date of the coins suggests their burial could have been associated with the turbulent separation of Britain from the Roman Empire c. AD 410.”

A metal detectorist made the nationally-significant find on private land in the north of the district.

Archaeologists from the district council’s museum service investigated the site at the beginning of October and uncovered all of the coins which were scattered across quite a wide area.

It is thought the hoard was disturbed in the last couple of hundred years due to quarrying activity or plough action.

Those curious about the coins, which were struck in the Italian cities of Milan and Ravenna under the Emperors Gratian, Valentinian, Theodosius, Arcadius and Honorius, can marvel at their magnificence at the London museum until early January.