Sunday, July 6, 2008

Treasure Trove!

From The Wrexham Leader July 3, 2008 Hoard of Roman coins found on Wrexham farm A HAUL of Roman coins found near Wrexham could be set for a place in the British Museum. John Formstone is a member of metal-detecting group Wrexham Heritage Society, and had only been metal detecting for 18 months when he found 92 silver Roman coins aged nearly 2,000 years. Just five days later he found another five, taking the total haul to 97. John, 45, formerly of Gresford but now living in Whittington, near Oswestry, found the coins on a farm in the region to the south of Wrexham, and they are now being cleaned and catalogued by an expert at the British Museum in London. A treasure inquest is expected to be held, and if the coins are declared treasure they are likely to be kept by the museum, with a reward being shared between John and the farmer whose land they were found at. "I'm very excited," said John. "What every detector dreams of finding is a hoard of coins. My friends in the group are all excited for me but there must be a bit of envy too." The coins all date from the second century AD and are denarii. Denarius was a high denomination from the period. The Emperor Hadrian is featured on some of the coins. He was emperor from 117 to 138. Trajan, emperor from 98 to 117, is also on some of the coins, with Antonius Pius, emperor from 138 to 161, on others. John said the coins' value was equivalent to just under half a legionary soldier's annual wage at the time, with soldiers being paid 250 denarius in a year. One denarius would have bought about 18 litres of wine or roughly 20 loaves of bread. "It's amazing to think they've been in the ground for nearly 2,000 years," said John. "I was so excited when I was digging them up to think that the last person who touched them was the person who buried them almost 2,000 years ago. It gives you a bit of a buzz."

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