You never know when an everyday situation can turn historic.
Such an event occurred in April in Tomares, Spain — a small town
about five miles from Seville — when a team of construction workers
installing electricity in a park unearthed an incredibly large haul of
More than 50,000 coins were found in 19 jug-like vessels called
amphoras. Nine of the amphoras were fully intact.
The actual weight of the haul was over 1,300 pounds (590 kilograms),
according to a CNN report.
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The workers halted their project when they realized what they had
come across. It is believed that the machines used during the
construction caused some of the breakage among the 10 shattered amphoras.
The coins are mostly bronze, but feature a small percentage of
silver — less than 4 percent.
“These coins are, for the most part, in very good condition of
conservation,” Ana Navarro, director of the Museo Arqueológico de
When were the coins stashed away underground?
“We have been able to read for sure inscriptions for Diocletianus,
Maximianus and Maxentius; almost certainly for Constantius I and
probably for Severus II, on several coins, randomly selected,” Navarro
said. “Thus at least on a preliminary basis, we could date this hoard
to Tetrarchic times, a political system established by Diocletian [in]
293 to govern the vast Roman Empire that [lasted] until [the early
third century] … when Constantine I defeated Majentius at the battle
of the Milvian Bridge.”
These bronze coins were of the follis denomination, and due to the 5
percent silver content, they appear to have a higher silver content
than they actually do. The silver is concentrated on the surface, and
still gives a shinier look from certain angles.
There’s still plenty to learn about the history behind these coins.
What we do know is that this was a unique time of Rome’s rule. The
Tetrarchy period saw four men rule with equal amounts of power. The
thought behind this method was that the government would be able to
handle issues from all corners of the empire without a ton of strain
on one ruler.
During this era, millions of coins were struck, under the names of
15 different people. Coins like the ones found in Tomares are readily
available. They feature simple art, and are neatly struck. Most
collectors liken them to a fine wine of sorts; they’re an acquired taste.
Navarro said that “only hypothesis and mere conjectures” can be
offered as to the reason for the hoard. An “in-depth archaeological
and numismatic study” will hopefully turn up more info, she indicated.