Somerset Roman Coin find by David Crisp

More than 50 000 coins dating back to Roman times have been discovered in a field in Somerset. The coins have been declared as treasure trove, and date back as early as the 3rd Century.

The coins were found buried in a farmer’s field near Frome and discovered by NHS chef Dave Crisp. Mr Crisp is said to be excited about his latest find as it is his biggest discovery since beginning metal detecting in 1988.

Treasure, once discovered, must be reported to a coroner and must date back at least 300 years. After an inquest to declare the find as a treasure, the person who discovered the treasure is allowed to keep it or sell it to an institution like a museum.

Mr Crisp had found a small stash of around 60 coins before discovering the 160kg pot of Roman coins elsewhere in the same field. The pot of coins is thought to have been meant as a religious gift. The coins are made from bronze or debased silver and come from the reign of Carausius, a Roman emperor who was the first to strike coins in the UK.

Some of the coins can already be viewed at Frome Library. The rest of the coins have been sent to the British Museum to be assessed and valued.

It is uncertain how much of a reward Mr Crisp is to receive for his find, but he has promised that whatever the reward he split it 50/50 with the owner of the field in which the coins were discovered.

There are suggestions, however, that the reward could be anything up to £1 million and possibly more if there are further discoveries. It has been confirmed that the reward will be a substantial amount.

Mr Crisp is unconcerned with the reward however, claiming he is only happy to be the record holder for the largest number of Roman coins to be discovered in one place.

The owner of the field is said to be shocked at the discovery of the Roman coins in his field.

The Museum of Somerset, due to reopen in 2011, are now making plans to raise money in order to acquire the coins, otherwise the find will go to the British Museum who will display the ancient artefacts.