Rare Roman coins find in south Warwickshire

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Roman coins and the pot they were found in.

WARWICKSHIRE Museum Service needs help to raise the funds to buy a major Roman hoard, found recently in Warwickshire.

The hoard made up of 440 silver denarii coins was uncovered during an archaeological dig at a Roman site on the Edge Hill in 2015. They were buried in a ceramic pot over 1,900 years ago, under the floor of a building. This is the second hoard of denarii to be found in this area and this new discovery contains 78 coins dating to AD 68-69, a turbulent time in Roman history known as the ‘Year of the Four Emperors’.

As with all finds of gold or silver of this date, the hoard was declared Treasure and has been with the British Museum for formal identification and valuation. Warwickshire Museum now has four months to raise £62,000 to acquire the coins to display them at the Market Hall Museum in Warwick.

The significance of the coins is they date from AD 68-69 a time of upheaval in the Roman Empire, it was the Year of the Four Emperors, when the death of Nero in AD 68 sparked a civil war, resulting in four successive rulers in a short span of time: Galba, Otho, Vitellius and finally Vespasian.

As they vied for power, each contender struck their own coins to fund their armies, and these coins are incredibly rare. Within an 18 month period the title of Emperor changed hands four times. Very few of these coins from this turbulent time survive, the second South Warwickshire hoard contains the largest collection of civil war-era coins ever found.

As with all finds of gold or silver of this date, the hoard was declared Treasure and has been with the British Museum for formal identification and valuation. Warwickshire Museum now has four months to raise £62,000 to acquire the coins to display them at the Market Hall Museum in Warwick.

Applications have already been submitted to major grant givers, and condition of the purchase is that a minimum of £3,000 needs to be raised locally.

To help reach this target a fundraising evening will be hosted at Market Hall Museum on Friday 5th April, 7pm to 10pm. Guests can find out more about this new find with experts on hand to answer questions. For one night only the pot that the coins were found in and some examples from the previous Roman hoard will be on display, along with other pieces of Roman treasure from the county. During the evening a raffle and auction will be held with all proceeds going to the campaign, along with all profits from the tickets and the bar. Tickets cost £20 and include a complimentary glass of prosecco on arrival, and canapés. Tickets can be purchased from the museum by calling 01926 412500.

Donations are also welcome from all supporters of Warwickshire heritage, and visitors to the Museum. Donation boxes in Market Hall will be specially re-branded with all proceeds from Friday 1st March to the Fundraiser on 5th April.

Councillor Dave Reilly, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Heritage and Culture says: “This is an amazingly important find for Warwickshire and our Roman past. Bringing the hoard back to the county and the Market Hall Museum will mean that Warwickshire’s residents can enjoy them for generations to come. The international significance of some of the coins in this hoard will increase visitors not only to Warwick, but the wider county, which can only contribute to our key objective of making the Warwickshire economy vibrant.”

Warwickshire Museum Service is also calling out to local businesses for prizes for the auction and raffle. Businesses wishing to donate a prize please contact louisejennings@warwickshire.gov.uk

You can find out more about the Warwickshire museum service on the Warwickshire Website: http://heritage.warwickshire.gov.uk/museum-service/

Find out more about the previously unknown Roman villa, discovered in Warwick in 2018, here: http://news.warwickshire.gov.uk/blog/2018/02/07/archaeology-warwickshire-excavate-previously-unknown-roman-villa-in-warwick/