[Web : Vesti] Archeologists discover a hoard of silver Roman denarii coins at Vindolanda
Ahoard of twenty one silver denarii has been recovered during the recent excavation of the foundations of a clay floor in a centurion’s apartment of the late Antonine period (cAD180-200) at Vindolanda, northeast England.
The hoard had been buried, possibly in a purse or some similar organic package which had long since rotted away, in a shallow pit within the foundation material of the floor of the structure in the middle of the room.
Dr Andrew Birley – director of excavations at the site explains, “The coins were tightly packed together and several had corroded onto one another, held together as a group by the foundation clay of the building on the surrounding packaging that had rotted away. The surface area covered by the coins was no greater than 10cms, suggesting that there had been little movement by post depositional processes. The archaeological context suggests that the hoard may well have been deliberately buried, rather than lost, and was probably the savings of an individual who was unable to recover his money.”
Twenty-one denarii in the late second century represented a substantial sum being roughly one tenth of a ranking auxiliary’s gross annual salary
Twenty-one denarii in the late second century represented a substantial sum being roughly one tenth of a ranking auxiliary’s gross annual salary and the equivalent of perhaps two or three thousand pounds in today’s money.
The hoard has now been conserved at Vindolanda and reported as treasure trove under the 1996 Treasure Act. It is hoped that the hoard will remain at Vindolanda, as part of the site archive, and for public display at the Vindolanda Trust’s site museum.