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Archeologists Study British Ancient Coin Find
By Richard Giedroyc, World Coin News
July 18, 2011

This article was originally printed in World Coin News.
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Numismatics as an applied science is once again being demonstrated, as the Colchester Archaeological Trust in England recently announced it had discovered two pots in Colchester, one containing 1,247 ancient Roman coins.

The find is of particular importance, because the project has already discovered what is the only known Roman circus and burial site in Britain. The approximately 22-acre site was formerly the Hyderabad and Meeanee barracks. The former barracks, now owned by developer Taylor Wimpey, has yielded other artifacts that indicate the site was a Roman chariot circus.

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The May 20 East Anglian Daily Times newspaper quoted archaeological project manager Robert Masefield of RPS Planning and Development as saying, “The garrison project is undoubtedly one of the most important archaeological ... studies to have been conducted in England in recent years.”

The British Broadcasting Corporation reported Wimpey will donate the coins to the British Museum, where they have been sent for examination, however RPS Planning and Development Managing Director Simon Brown was reported by the local East Anglian newspaper as saying, “This treasure will be gifted to the local community.”

The current find consists entirely of antoniniani that can be dated between A.D. 251 and 271. They are from the reigns of the emperors Gallus in A.D. 251 to 253, to Victorinus in A.D. 269 to 271.

There are coins of nine emperors from this period in the hoard, with no coins from any other period being present.

Colchester Archaeological Trust spokesman Philip Crummy was quoted by the East Anglian Daily Times as saying, “The burial of coins seems to have been more common in periods of unrest or uncertainty,” adding, “The 270s were a difficult time in eastern England because of civil war in the Roman Empire, and serious raiding along the coast by foreign peoples.”

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