Much of Europe’s earliest recorded history tends to begin with the conquest of the Roman Empire. Of course, archaeologists and historians know that a number of cultures were active on the continent during the Bronze Age. Nonetheless, the progress for civilization brought about by the expansion of Ancient Rome is so transformative that its total impact almost incalculable.
One of the clearest examples of this is the introduction of coins made from precious metals. In an area of southern Spain with evidence of mining activity that predates the Romans, researchers have discovered a large cache of gold and silver Roman coins that date to the first and second centuries of the Common Era (abbreviated CE, formerly known as AD).