Described as one of the most important hoards found in Britain during the past century, a 15-kilogram set of 1,900 Roman coins found by a retreating metal detectorist is about to go on display at Bexhill Museum.
“When it started beeping I thought, ‘sod it’,” says Tim Simmonds, an enthusiast from Burwash who was hurrying home in the rain when his metal sensor fired off an alert in 2005.
© Bexhill Museum
“But then you think, ‘what if?’
“When I started to dig, I couldn’t have picked them out fast enough.
“The ground was covered in clover and as I picked out the coins they were coming up like dangling earrings on the roots. They were silver and they were still sparkling.
“My heart was thumping. I could hardly breathe. I knew it was real but it was of a nature like a dream.”
Experts gave the hoard treasure status, and it ended up further down the coast.
“We are extremely fortunate that Brighton Museum was able to acquire them and loan them out to the museums who are interested,” says curator Julian Porter.
“The coins themselves are especially rare. It is of national significance and of great local interest because it was found in our part of the county.
“There is a lot of detail about the hoard and the individual emperors and empresses on some of the more important coins.
“Some of them got killed by their own side and don’t appear to have been too popular.”
- The hoard will be on show from February 4 until summer 2013, running alongside an exhibition on Sussex folklore.