Stash of Roman coins found at UK building site

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A groundwork contractor stumbled across 1,700-year-old Roman coins when he was working in Yeovil.

Stash of Roman coins found at UK building site
Selection of Roman coins discovered at the Yeovil building site 
[Credit: Central Somerset Gazette]

Mark Copsey, who had been working on a building site for under a week, went to reverse the bulldozer he was driving and saw something strange in the soil, an inquest heard.

“I was stripping sub soil and I looked behind and noticed a green cloth,” he said.

Mr Copsey got out of the bulldozer to investigate and discovered a broken pot and some coins on March 20, 2013.

Not knowing what to do, Mr Copsey made a few calls and eventually got in contact with the local museum and a senior historic environment officer was sent out to examine the findings.

The coins and pot were sent off to an archaeologist to determine if it was treasure.

In a statement, read out by East Somerset coroner Tony Williams, the British Museum confirmed the bundle of 3,339 coins was indeed treasure.

The report said 3,335 of the coins were silver from the 2nd or 3rd century – the rest were brass. The coins were a mix of sestertius and denarii.

The broken shards of pottery were also classed as treasure as it is believe this would have been used to store the coins.

There was some dispute over the official finder of the treasure as two of Mr Copsey’s colleagues, who were on site at the time of the discovery, claimed it was a joint effort.

In a letter sent to Mr Williams, one of the other contractors said he saw Mr Copsey out of the bulldozer looking at something and went over to see what he had found. Another colleague, who was said to have been even further away at the time, also came over to Mr Copsey.

But the coroner said just because the other workers were on the site, it doesn’t mean they are also the finders.

“I will record Mr Copsey as the finder,” said Mr Williams.

“[One of the other contractors] put forward a proposal that it was a team finding but it seems straight forward – the fact there were others working on the site at that time does not mean they were finders.”

Source: Central Somerset Gazette [January 28, 2016]

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