half a ton- of Roman coins – Unearthed 1,300 pounds

In Tomares, Spain, whilst digging ditches and laying pipes, workers stumbled upon a literal treasure trove.

It seems that sometime in the past, one person (or several people) buried nineteen jars filled with Roman coins in what would become Zaudin Park. Naturally after the find, all work on the park has been halted for now.

Experts are hailing the discovery as unique. Nine of the nineteen jars (or amphoras) were intact — although several broke during excavation — and all of the jars contained thousands of bronze and silver-coated coins.

Buried about a meter deep, the jars weighed a total 1,300 pounds. After their recovery, they were brought to the Seville Archaeological Museum.

The treasure trove of coins was hidden in 19 pottery jugs. Photo courtesy of the Archeological Museum of Seville
The treasure trove of coins was hidden in 19 pottery jugs. Photo credit Archeological Museum of Seville

The coins within the jars, according to the Seville Archaeological Museum, date from the end of the fourth century. At the time of their burial, they are believed to have been newly minted.

They bear the images of emperors Constantine or Maxmian on one side, and on the other side, the images appear to be from various Roman stories.

The museum had nothing similar to these coins in their collection, and once the coins have been thoroughly examined they will be put on display for the public.

Ana Navarro Ortega, head of the museum, said that they had contacted counterparts in Britain, France, and Italy. Apparently, the Tomares jars are one of the most important finds from the period.

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Excavation of the jars is difficult due to their weight and fragility. As previously mentioned, several of the jars broke during the process, despite the care taken by archaeologists.

“I can assure you that the jugs cannot be lifted by one person because of their weight and the quantity of the coins inside,” Ortega said. “So now what we have to do is begin to understand the historical and archaeological context of this discovery.”

For now, researchers are puzzling over the reason that the jugs were buried in the first place. Currently, there are several theories floating around academic circles.

It is evident that the jars were deliberately concealed. Bricks and ceramic filler were layed over the treasure. One theory, from the Andalusian Department of Culture, for the coins’ existence in such large numbers is that the money was set aside to pay imperial taxes or army levies.

It’s important to note that Rome had begun to conquer Spain in 218 BC.Their rule their continued until the fifth century.

Richard Wiegel, who is a professor of ancient Greece and Rome at Western Kentucky University in regard to the discovery. Professor Wiegel suggested that the coins could have been buried during an era of “great discord in the Roman Empire.”

 This could be likely because it was during the third century that the central authority in Rome broke down, said Professor Wiegel. Germanic tribes were a consistent problem, as they invaded the country periodically. On top of that, there were the usual challenges of ruling an empire.

The coins were discovered in Tomares, in southern Spain, and during the time of Roman rule, the area would have been considered a distant land.

It would have taken a while before it was considered a normal part of the Roman Empire, said Wiegel.

“The suggestion that they were collected to pay taxes to the Roman Empire is, of course, possible,” he said.

“But I suspect that they could have been stored to pay one of the Roman legions in the area and to hide the money from invaders in the region.”

hen researchers identified the emperors on the coins, it did help to solidify their theories about the coins. If they knew what the political and social climate was during the time of the burial, then it becomes an easier task of formulating hypotheses.

3,000-year-old ball of thread discovered in the UK


In a surprising twist, an unusually delicate couple of artifacts have recently arisen from a dig site in the United Kingdom. Archaeologists in England have officially discovered a fragile ball of yarn and another thread wound inside of a bobbin that is over 3,000 years old.

In 2011, the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, in collaboration with Forterra, began to uncover a series of incredible discoveries that has become known as one of the most important Bronze Age sites across Europe.

Among the amazing discoveries, two fragile fiber objects were unearthed during an excavation of a village that thrived during the Bronze Age.

The village is located near the city of Peterborough, in modern day England. The excavation site is known as Must Farm and is thought to have been quickly abandoned after a fire abolished most of the settlement thousands of years ago.

During the settlement’s abandonment, many artifacts were left behind that gave our current archaeologists insights to what every-day life was like in a Bronze Age settlement. The objects that were left behind are finally being discovered and brought to light for the first time.

The first fiber object, a miniscule thread, is still neatly wound. The archaeologists said the thread was well preserved and that the condition they found it in was said to be “amazing”.

A picture was uploaded to Facebook on July 21st and quickly sparked dozens of questions from around the world. In the mini Q&A, the team of experts explained that the thread was probably incredibly preserved because it was created from plant fiber, which more than likely consisted of a flax or nettle base.


Photo credit: Cambridge Archaeological Unit
Photo credit: Cambridge Archaeological Unit

Luckily for archaeologists, this allowed the plant matter to carbonize inside of the fire and then shortly after the thread became waterlogged – the process that helped protect it for thousands of years.

Although the thread is greenish-brownish today, archaeologists indicate the thread was likely a different color before it was set on fire, flooded, and then buried.

And it is impractical that an incredibly careful cleaning and preparation process would give scientists any hint on how to restore its original hue.

The archaeologists said in a comment on Must Farm’s Facebook page that the reason behind this is that the same process of carbonization that preserved the thread for so long also removed all traces of pigment inside of thread itself.

Close to the thread ball, a small bobbin was also found with thread wrapped around it. It is also said to be in excellent condition, the archaeologists Cambridge Archaeological Unit confidently declared.

They are doing everything possible to properly extract sediment from the fibers before it is lifted, the archaeologists confirmed on Facebook.

The thread wrapped around the bobbin was luckily incredibly preserved, and the archaeologists described it as looking practically new.

And even though the 3,000-year-old thread has stolen the show, it is just one of an amazing variety of beautifully-preserved objects that have been discovered at Must Farm excavation site due to the fire that drove the population away from the settlement and left the village untouched.

These balls of thread and the other everyday items found at Must Farm present a remarkable snapshot of life thousands of years ago. Photo credit: Cambridge Archaeological Unit

A few other examples of objects unearthed are pottery, woven textile, a bronze sickle, a weapon head, and even some glass jewelry that allows us to gain a glimpse into what culture was like during the Bronze Age.

Even though the fire was a major factor in the discovery and preservation of the village, it is still a mystery as to what started the fire that left an entire village homeless.

Though archaeologists hinted that it’s possible it was deliberately set by grumpy neighbors, there is still no published evidence that back those speculations.

The amazing thing about this excavation site is how good a time capsule this fire created for today’s most premier study of history. This village was living its daily life, and the population’s exit was sparked by a single catastrophic event.

It is due to this fact that the Must Farm settlement has been heralded as one of the most complete Bronze Age assemblages ever discovered inside of the United Kingdom. It has implicitly given us unprecedented insight into what life was like for humanity 3,000 years ago.

Archaeologists are working hard to delicately excavate the site so they can assemble the story of this village.

The excavation is just the beginning and once it is complete the much more extravagant process of preserving, preparing, and putting together the puzzle pieces to spark a story of their discoveries begins.

Here is another one from our archeology files:Treasure trove discovered in ancient sunken cargo ship off Israel

Stay tuned for more updates because assembling the story of this Bronze Age village can take years to complete.