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Amateur freedivers discover 53 perfectly preserved Roman gold coins off the coast of Alicante

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Amateur freedivers discover 53 perfectly preserved Roman gold coins on the seabed off the coast of Alicante – one of Europe’s greatest treasures to date

  • Brother-in-law Luis Lens and César Gimeno came across the catch while diving
  • The 53 intact gold coins are said to be in ‘perfect state of preservation’
  • Experts think they were hidden from invaders 1,500 years ago










Amateur divers have discovered one of Europe’s greatest treasures of gold Roman coins while on holiday off the coast of Spain.

The stash would have been hidden from barbarian invaders some 1,500 years ago, but was discovered by two brothers-in-law clearing debris from the seabed in Alicante.

Despite lying on the seabed since the late 4th and early 5th centuries, the 53 intact gold coins are said to be in “perfect state of preservation,” allowing researchers to read inscriptions and identify Roman emperors.

Amateur freedivers have found one of Europe’s greatest treasures of gold Roman coins while on holiday off the coast of Spain

Jaime Molina from the University of Alicante said: ‘This is one of the largest sets of Roman gold coins found in Spain and Europe.

“It is an exceptional archaeological and historical find, as its investigation could provide a wealth of new information to understand the final stage of the fall of the Western Roman Empire.”

Brother-in-law Luis Lens and César Gimeno found the extraordinary discovery seven meters deep off the coastal town of Xàbia.

The stock was thought to have been hidden from barbarian invaders about 1,500 years ago, but was discovered by two brothers-in-law clearing debris from the seabed in Alicante

The stock was thought to have been hidden from barbarian invaders about 1,500 years ago, but was discovered by two brothers-in-law clearing debris from the seabed in Alicante

This coin depicts the Roman Emperor Valentinian I

Theodosius I is depicted on this coin

Specialists from the University of Alicante have now identified three coins depicting the Roman Emperor Valentinian I (pictured left), seven coins depicting Valentinian II, 15 by Theodosius I (pictured right), another 17 by Arcadio and 10 by Honorius

Lens told local media: “I thought I’d found something that looked like a 10-cent coin.

“It was in a little hole, like a bottleneck.”

But when he returned to his boat, he took a look and discovered “an ancient image, such as a Greek or Roman face” and thought it was a lost jewel.

The two brothers-in-law then returned to the site and used a corkscrew and Swiss army knife to excavate the rest of the treasure for two hours.

Brothers-in-law Luis Lens and César Gimeno found the extraordinary discovery seven meters deep off the coastal town of Xàbia

Brothers-in-law Luis Lens and César Gimeno found the extraordinary discovery seven meters deep off the coastal town of Xàbia

One of the 10 discovered coins depicting Honorius, who was Roman emperor from 393 to 423

One of the 10 discovered coins depicting Honorius, who was Roman emperor from 393 to 423

Specialists from the University of Alicante have now identified three coins depicting the Roman Emperor Valentinian I, seven coins depicting Valentinian II, 15 by Theodosius I, another 17 by Arcadio and 10 by Honorius.

Molina said, “There are no remains of sunken ships in the area where they were found, so it is probably a voluntary concealment of the arrival of the barbarians to the coast of Hispania, in this case the Alans.”

He added: ‘This finding speaks to us of a context of fear, of a world ending, that of the Roman Empire.

The coins are now being cleared and put on display in a local museum, the University of Alicante has revealed

The coins are now being cleared and put on display in a local museum, the University of Alicante has revealed

“The find illustrates a historical moment of extreme uncertainty with the violent arrival of the barbarian peoples in Spain and the definitive end of the Roman Empire in the Iberian Peninsula from 409 AD.”

The coins are now being cleared and put on display at a local museum.

The Bay of Portitxol in Xàbia is an area known for the abundance of underwater archaeological remains.

Anchors, amphorae charges, ceramic remains from different periods, metallic material and elements related to ancient navigation have been saved before so far.

How England spent nearly half a millennium under Roman rule?

55BC – Julius Caesar crossed the canal with about 10,000 soldiers. They landed in a Pegwell Bay on Thanet Island and were met by a British force. Caesar was forced to retreat.

54BC – Caesar crossed the channel again in his second attempt to conquer Britain. He arrived with 27,000 infantry and cavalry and landed at Deal, but met no opposition. They marched inland and after heavy fighting they defeated the British and important tribal leaders surrendered.

Later that year, however, Caesar was forced to return to Gaul to settle the problems there and the Romans left.

54BC – 43BC – Although there were no Romans in Britain during these years, their influence increased thanks to trade links.

43AD – A Roman force of 40,000 led by Aulus Plautius landed in Kent and took the southeast. Emperor Claudius appointed Plautius governor of Great Britain and returned to Rome.

47AD – Londinium (London) was founded and Britain was declared part of the Roman Empire. Road networks were built throughout the country.

50AD – Romans arrived in the southwest and made their mark in the form of a wooden fortress on a hill near the River Exe. Decades later, a town called Isca was founded on the site of the fortress.

When the Romans left it and Saxony ruled, all ex-Roman cities were called a ‘ceaster’. this was called ‘Exe ceaster’ and a merger of these eventually created Exeter.

75 – 77AD – The Romans defeated the last resistant tribes, turning all of Britain into Roman. Many Britons began to adopt Roman customs and laws.

122AD – Emperor Hadrian ordered that a wall be built between England and Scotland to keep out Scottish tribes.

312AD – Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal throughout the Roman Empire.

228AD – The Romans were attacked by barbarian tribes and soldiers stationed in the country were recalled to Rome.

410AD – All Romans were recalled to Rome and Emperor Honorious told the British they had no connection with Rome anymore.

Source: History on the net

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