British hoard turns up coin from 32 BC
Included in a massive hoard of coins discovered in Bath, England, five years ago is one silver piece that dates back to before the birth of Christ, researchers recently learned.
A Roman coin dating from 32 BC is the oldest found so far from among the approximately 22,000 pieces unearthed in a stone-lined box by archaeologists working in Bath in 2007, according to the BBC.
That makes it more than 200 years older than any of the other coins already examined from among the so-called Beau Street Hoard, according to Stephen Clews, manager of the Roman Baths.
The silver coins are believed to date from 274 AD and have been described as the fifth-largest hoard ever found in the United Kingdom, according to the BBC.
The coins were fused together and sent to the British Museum, according to media outlet. Conservators are expected to take at least a year to work through them.
The coins were discovered about 150 yards from the Roman Baths, the BBC added.
The previous oldest coin found in the hoard was from about 190 AD but that figure has had to be revised considerably with the discovery of the coin dating back to the time of Marc Antony, Clews said.
Antony was a Roman politician and general, noted for being a loyal supporter of Julius Caesar. After Caesar’s assassination, Antony formed an official political alliance with Octavian – later known as Augustus Caesar – and Lepidus, in what became known as the Second Triumvirate.
That arrangement broke up in 33 BC, with disagreement between Octavian and Antony erupting into civil war, the final war of the Roman Republic.
Antony was defeated by Octavian in 31 BC, and Antony and his lover Cleopatra committed suicide shortly thereafter.
“The 32 BC coin is quite worn and must have circulated a bit before it was hoarded,” Clews said.
He said the previous most recent coin was from 268 AD to 270 AD but one from 274 AD has now been found.
“The whole hoard must be at least five years younger than we thought,” Clews added.
Once cleaned, the Treasure Valuation Committee will value the hoard, which could take place by autumn of next year.
The Roman Baths Museum hopes to eventually purchase the hoard and put it on public display.