Clean-up work on Bath hoard of Roman coins is going well
An astonishing hoard of Roman coins found in Bath is beginning to scrub up well.
Experts at the British Museum are preserving and analysing the collection, one of the biggest ever found in Britain. They were discovered during an archaeological dig at the site of work on the Gainsborough Hotel, in Beau Street. It is estimated that there are at least 25,000 coins, many of them silver denarii dating from 32BC until 270AD. A Roman soldier would have been paid 600 denarii a year.
Most of the coins are fused together in a large block, making identification and counting difficult.
City MP Don Foster, who has visited the museum team, said: "Some of the coins are in near mint condition and fine details like the hair of the emperor or his wife can easily be seen. It was simply staggering to hold a handful of these coins from around 2,000 years ago.
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"I had it all explained to me, and what is wonderful is that we are hoping to get all this information displayed alongside the coins in Bath.
"This will make the Roman times come alive, with people being able to find out more."
Some of the coins, known as the Beau Street Hoard, were found in a stone-lined box although it is thought they were originally in six separate leather bags.
It is being described as one of the five largest hoards ever found and the largest from a single Roman settlement.
Head of portable antiquities and treasure at the museum Dr Roger Bland said: "This is one of the largest and most important hoards of Roman coins to have been found in Britain in recent years. Thanks to an x-ray taken by Southampton University we were able to see that we had at least six separate bags of coins and these are now being conserved at the British Museum.
"It is early days in our study of the hoard, which will probably take three years, but we believe there are more than 25,000 coins and, from the coins that have been cleaned so far, we know that they cover a very long time span of 300 years.
"There will be many more secrets to emerge from this fascinating hoard as the conservation continues."
The Roman Baths has launched an appeal to raise £150,000 to acquire, conserve and display the coins.
Anyone wanting to help with a donation is asked to phone the Roman Baths administrator on 01225 477773.