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).
At the mining site of Huelva, a cache of about 40 to 50 coins made of gold and silver were discovered in early July. This represented a “considerable sum” of money at the time, prompting speculating about how the riches may have gotten there. Some contextual clues point to the possibility that the coins may have been hidden there for safekeeping during a time of conflict in the late 2nd century.
The hoard of coins is made up primarily of silver denarii and gold aureii. The denarius and aureus were the flagship silver and gold coins, respectively, of the Roman Empire. Reporting by Coin World indicates that the coins were minted under the reigns of Roman emperors Nero, Trajan, and Vespasian.
The area where the coins were found was the ancient site of the city Orium near the Rio Tinto river. Archaeologists learned from the find that this city’s boundaries extended farther west than was previously believed.
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