4,000 Roman Coins Found Intact in Swiss Orchard

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November 24, 2015

A Swiss farmer will not get to keep any of the more than 4,000 bronze and silver coins that he discovered in his cherry orchard. The coins, which date to the days of Ancient Rome, are now property of the Swiss Government, under Swiss law.

The 4,166 coins are in excellent condition, and the imprints can be read, so archaeologists know that they are from the time of the emperors Aurelian (A.D. 170-275) and Maximilian (A.D. 286-305). The earliest coins found date to the year 274; the most recent coins date to 294.

Some of the coins were buried in leather pouches. Others were in a heap. All together, they weigh 33 pounds.

The orchard is near the town of Ueken, which is near the early Roman settlement of Frick, a site of extensive excavation in recent months.

Archaeologists said that the coins were in such good condition probably because they were hoarded not longer after they were minted and because the land had been farmland for the past 1,700 years and not targeted for building.

The find is one of the largest such money hoard found in Switzerland. The coins will be on display soon in the Vindonissa de Brugg Museum, in Aargau.

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