We all feel a little thrill when we put on a pair of pants or a jacket and find a long forgotten bill inside, the thrill of found money. But nothing quite like this!
Construction workers in Tomares, Spain (just outside Seville) were at work last week, digging a ditch in order to lay electricity lines in an urban park when they struck something unusually hard a few feet below the surface. Quick work revealed 19 terracotta jugs (known as “amphorae”) – containers that were commonly used in the Roman Empire to transport everything under the sun, from wine and olive oil to valuables, including coins.
The coins were minted in the Eastern Roman Empire (where Constantine had relocated the capital from Italy to the old Greek city of Byzantium on the Bosporus which he re-christened Nova Roma or Constantinople – now known as Istanbul) and transported to Spain. The archaeologists that are analyzing this massive hoard (the number of coins has not yet been identified as the collection is so massive and the find so recent) were likely sent to Spain (then Hispania, one of the original Roman provinces dating to 218BC) to pay the Roman army’s wages.
Why were the coins buried? And why were they forgotten? That is the mystery…
For more, see the Washington Post article.