Italian divers unearth tens of thousands of ancient coins, possibly from 4th-century shipwreck
Tens of thousands of Roman coins, what appear to be spoils of war, have been discovered in the sea near the northeast coast of Sardinia, the Italian Ministry of Culture said on Saturday (Nov 4). The ministry said that the coins date from the early 4th century AD and are mainly a bronze follis type made in the Roman tradition.
The ministry contacted authorities from the Superintendency of Archaeology and the Carabineros after the divers found the treasure among sea grass along the Mediterranean island's north-east coast. Divers from an art protection team and the ministry's undersea archaeology department were dispatched to investigate.
As reported by Heritage Daily, estimated that the bronze coins are between 30,000 and 50,000, which are said to be "in an exceptional and rare state of conservation". The estimation is based on the total weight of the find.
As per the report, a chronological analysis places the timeline of the coins between AD 324 (coinage of Licinius), and AD 340 (coinage of Constantine the Great).
As quoted, the ministry explained: "The restoration and conservation operations of the coins and materials found will allow us to expand and deepen our knowledge of the context of the finds from which a lot of information can still be extracted."
Luigi La Rocca, who is the head of the Italian Directorate of Archaeology, said: "The treasure represents one of the most important numismatic discoveries in recent years and highlights once again the richness and importance of the archaeological heritage that hides in the depths of our seas."
La Rocca also hailed the find as one of the most significant coin discoveries in recent times. He believes it demonstrates the wealth and significance of the archaeological heritage buried beneath the seafloor.
The ministry added the treasure trove was far bigger than the cache found in 2013 in the United Kingdom when 22,888 similar coins were discovered near the site of a Roman fort in the southwest county of Devon.