The Spanish town of Tomares this week played host to a remarkable discovery when a large quantity of ancient Roman coins were unexpectedly discovered there.
According to reports, construction workers were busy carrying out routine maintenance on water pipes when they came across the find. Digging only about a meter(a little over a yard) underground they discovered several clay pots packed to the brim with ancient Roman Empire era coins.
They reported the discovery to the local authorities who then brought in archaeologists from the Seville Archaeological Museum to further excavate the find.
Tomares is just west of Seville in southern Spain and has a population of just about 25 000 people.
Following the discovery the director of the Seville Archaeological Museum, Ana Navarro, said at a press conference that at final count they unearthed a total of 19 amphoras. An Amphora is a type of container, typically ceramic or pottery. Ten of these containers were still perfectly in tact, all filled with ancient bronze coins.
In total they discovered over 600kg(1300lbs) worth of ancient Roman era bronze coins. Most of the coins examined so far bear the bust of Emperors Constantine I and Maximian. This dates the coins from between the third an fourth centuries CE.
The truly remarkable thing about the find is that they are is near mint condition and the coins do not appear to have been in circulation. They appear to have simply been buried inside the amphoras and , apparently, forgotten about for over a 1600 years until their discover this past week.
Ana Navarro went on to explain that due to the large quantity of coins, the working theory is that the money was intended for the Roman Army in order to pay soldiers. Another theory is that the coins were destined for the capitol as tax revenues. She stressed however, that this is pure speculation at this time. The museum's priority right now is to properly clean and preserve the discovery. Only after that will they begin research to try and establish the source and intended purpose of the coins.
The shear quantity and the almost untouched condition of the coins discovered makes this an unrivaled discovery for Spain, even surpassing other discoveries made in Great Britain and France in past years.
The Seville Archaeological Museum plans to put the amphoras and coins on display to the public as soon as they have finished preserving and properly cataloging them.