Author Topic: Coroner decides Frome Roman coin hoard is treasure  (Read 2133 times)

Offline Tascio

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Coroner decides Frome Roman coin hoard is treasure
« on: July 22, 2010, 12:10:09 PM »

A hoard of nearly 52,000 Roman coins discovered in a Somerset field has been declared treasure.
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British Museum staff member displays a handful of the coins

About 52,000 coins were found buried in a field near Frome in Somerset

    * In pictures: Roman coin hoard

Dave Crisp, from Wiltshire, found the coins - dating from the 3rd Century AD - in April buried near Frome.

"I've been metal detecting since 1988 and it's the most exciting and important find I've made," he said.

The decision at the inquest in Frome means the 160kg-haul, one of the largest found in the UK, belongs to the Crown.

The coins, which are made from debased silver or bronze, are currently at the British Museum in London.

The haul includes coinage dating from 286 to 293AD during the reign of Carausius, the first Roman emperor to strike coins in Britain.

Somerset County Council Heritage Service can buy the trove for the Museum of Somerset, which is due to reopen in 2011, under the Treasure Act.
What is treasure trove?

    * Where the owner of a find cannot be traced, it normally belongs to the landowner but anything declared "treasure" belongs to the Crown
    * Anyone making find that could be treasure must report it to a coroner
    * An inquest will then determine its status
    * Treasure must be at least 300 years old
    * Once something is declared treasure, the finder may be able to keep it, or an institution, such as the British Museum, may buy it
    * Objects are not treasure if their owners can be traced or if they are found on the shore but do not come from a shipwreck

Following the ruling by East Somerset coroner Tony Williams, Mr Crisp, who works as a chef in the NHS, said: "It was a foregone conclusion. It met all the criteria [for treasure], it was fantastic."

He said he did not know what reward he was going to get, but would split whatever he did 50/50 with the farmer who owned the land.

"The Treasure Valuation Committee will decide how much it's worth," he said.

Experts from the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) at the British Museum have been sifting through the coins.

Somerset PAS finds liaison officer Anna Booth said of the reward: "It will be fairly substantial but how substantial, we don't know.

"If they find lots of rare coins, the price could go up. It won't be millions, but beyond that it is hard to speculate.

"Once it has been evaluated, the British Museum will be given a chance to acquire it. If not, the local museum will have it.

"The British Museum has already said it hopes the find will be acquired by the Museum of Somerset.

"We are now going to be on a fundraising drive to get the money."

A spokesman from the PAS said they believed the hoard was probably intended as a religious offering.

The coins are thought to be worth about four years' pay for a legionary soldier.