Over two dozen of rare Roman and Iron Age coins were discovered inside of a cave in Dovedale, Derbyshire, United Kingdom.
Four of the coins were initially discovered by a random cave dweller in the Peak district, which lead to a full-scale excavation by archaeologists. In what has been described as an extremely rare occurrence, 26 coins from two civilizations, which experts believe haven't been touched for roughly 2,000 years, were unearthed in all.
The gold and silver coins, the first of their kind to be found in a cave, are said to have belonged to the Corieltauvi tribe, a group that lived in Britain before the Roman conquest. The coins were dug up in Reynard's Kitchen Cave, which is located outside the Corieltauvi's usual boundaries.
Rachel Hall of the National Trust commented, "It might be that we have a member of the tribe living beyond the boundary that is more usually associated with the territory." Hall added, "it's just so special and they're incredibly beautiful. I think it's the most exciting site I've ever worked on in my life so far."
— LiveScience (@LiveScience) July 12, 2014
The find included 20 Iron Age coins, three Roman coins and three coins from much later eras, according to a report complied by Ian Leins, curator of Iron Age and Roman coins at the British Museum. As the coins predated the Roman conquest of the region, archaeologists aren't exactly sure how they were used, but interestingly, it is highly unlikely that they were utilized as a form of currency. It is believed that the coins were presented as gifts, used to store wealth or offered as sacrifices.
The 26 coins are worth roughly $3,400, and officially qualify as "treasure" under the United Kingdom's 1996 Treasure Act, which means they need to be reported to authorities. The coins will be put on display later this year at the Buxton Museum in Derbyshire.
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