Two metal detector enthusiasts on the Channel Island of Jersey have unearthed an estimated 50,000 Roman and Celtic bronze and silver coins.
Weighing an incredible three quarters of a tonne, the hoard was found in a field in the east of Jersey by Reg Mead and Richard Miles, but the exact location has not been revealed as it is thought there could still be more coins buried in the immediate vicinity.
Believed to date from the 1st Century BC, each coin is considered to be worth between £100 and £200, with Celtic coin expert Dr Philip de Jersey describing the find as “extremely exciting and very significant”.
Speculation abounds at how so many ancient coins from this era ended up in one place. However, it was during the 1st Century BC that the Roman Army under Julius Caesar was advancing north through Gaul (now modern day France) on his way to his expeditions across the Channel to Britain in 55 and 54 BC. It is therefore thought that the Armorica tribe that occupied the Brittany and Normandy areas of northern France could have moved the coins to Jersey and buried them for safe keeping from the advancing Romans.
Archaeologists now expect to be cleaning and preserving the haul for months in an effort to discover more about their history and full value. It is hoped the coins will eventually be put on display at the Jersey Museum, but as to who can claim ownership of this precious find remains a matter of debate.