Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Beau Street Hoard

The Beau Street Hoard was found in Bath, Somerset in 2008. It is the fifth-largest hoard ever found in Britain and the largest ever discovered in a British Roman town. It consists of silver Roman coins dating from between 32 BC and 274 AD.

The hoard was found on Beau Street about 150 metres from the town's Roman Baths, built when Bath was a Roman colony known as Aquae Sulis.
It is not known why it was buried but the period was one of turmoil, known as the Crisis of the Third Century, in which the Roman Empire nearly collapsed as Britain and Gaul broke away to form the short-lived Gallic Empire. There were 25 emperors in only 50 years.
It appears to have been amassed over a period of several decades, perhaps being redeposited from somewhere else. The hoard represented a substantial amount of value, though the rampant inflation of the time would have eroded its worth rapidly. In the 230s it would have been equivalent to about the same as a year's pay for 18 Roman legionaries, but by 301 it would only have been the equivalent of two soldiers' annual salaries.
There are 17,577 coins in total, made up largely of denarii and radiates. The early radiates are silver but the older ones are debased, i.e. contain less of the precious metal, and are not in such good condition.

The coins were found to have been in eight individual animal skin pouches, which had been hidden in a stone-lined pit in the floor of a Roman building about 150 metres from the Roman Baths.
UK's Treasure Valuation Committee set a value on the treasure of £60,000.