A precious hoard of Roman and Late Iron Age coins has been discovered in a British cave where they have lain undisturbed for more than 2,000 years.
The treasure trove was unearthed by a member of the public, who stumbled across four coins in the cavern in Dovedale in the Peak District, sparking a full-scale excavation.
Experts say the find is highly unusual as it is the first time coins from these two separate civilisations have been buried together.
The setting itself adds to the mystery, as while Roman coins have often been found in fields, this is understood to be the first time they have been unearthed in a cave.
Archaeologists discovered 26 coins, including three Roman coins which pre-date the invasion of Britain in 43AD, and 20 other gold and silver pieces which are Late Iron Age and thought to belong to the Corieltavi tribe.
National Trust archaeologist Rachael Hall said whoever owned the “treasure” was probably a wealthy, influential figure.
“The coins would suggest a serious amount of wealth and power of the individual who owned them,” she said.
“Coins were used more as a symbol of power and status during the Late Iron Age, rather than for buying and selling staple foods and supplies. Was an individual simply hiding his best stuff for safe keeping? Or, perhaps speculating, in the hope that the value would increase in the future?
The largest hoard of Iron Age gold and silver coins found in Britain was by an amateur archaeologist in 2000 near Hallaton, south-east Leicestershire.
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