Workers Laying Pipes Unearth Coins—1,300 Pounds of Them

Their mint condition suggests they were never in circulation
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2016 9:30 AM CDT
Workers Laying Pipes Unearth Coins—1,300 Pounds of Them
This photo made available by the City Council of Tomares on Friday shows some of the bronze- and silver-coated coins.   (City Council of Tomares via AP)

(Newser) – What should've been a simple maintenance project involving new water pipes in Spain has become something else entirely. Construction workers near Seville Wednesday stumbled upon about 1,300 pounds of bronze Roman coins from the third and fourth centuries crammed into 19 ancient amphoras, the AFP reports. The Washington Post reports that the workers noticed "irregular terrain" while toiling in a ditch a little more than 3 feet deep. Ana Navarro, head of the local museum that's now taken over the excavation project, didn't pin an exact number on the coins' value, simply stating they're worth "certainly several million euros" (which would equate to several million dollars) and that it's hard for her to assign a dollar amount because "the value they really have is historical and you can't calculate that."

Navarro tells a local paper that "this find is extremely important," with "very few similar cases," per The coins features images of emperors Constantine and Maximian, and their mint condition indicates they likely weren't in circulation. Navarro speculates the money was used to pay government taxes or the armed forces, and that the amphoras were buried "because of social conflicts, violence, [and other] threats" of the time. Navarro also notes that because the coin-filled containers are so heavy, it's probable they weren't placed underground by one person alone, CNN reports. The country's cultural department says no such coins exist in the Seville Archaeological Museum's collection, per the AP. (Another recent find involved coins hailing from the Nazi era.)

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