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More than 1,700 silver coins or Roman denarii found in southeast Poland have been dated to the first and second centuries AD. The ancient coins were discovered completely by accident nearly three years ago in a field near the town of Hrubieszow. According to archaeologists at the Museum of Father Stanislaw Staszic in Hrubieszow, the treasure was likely left behind by the Vandals, a Germanic tribe that settled south Poland, as they retreated from the Goths.
The museum said in a Facebook post the coins are “without a doubt the largest treasure from the Roman period” found in the region and one of the biggest found in the country.
The coins were found in a field in 2019 by Mariusz Dyl.
Mr Dyl noticed individual coins scattered across a field and followed the trail until he found a larger concentration near the spot where the treasure was buried.
After digging up the hoard and holding onto it for a while, he donated it to the Hrubieszow museum.
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According to archaeologist Andrzej Kokowski from the Marie Sklodowska Curie University in Lublin, the discovery confirms his theory about a battle between the Vandals and Goths in the region.
He said: “Shock, disbelief, joy and emotion; but in the back of the head a stubborn ‘finally’.
“My entire theory about the ‘first battle for the Hrubieszowska Valley’ found another strong argument.
“The Vandal’s retreat from the Goths, or rather fleeing, was so bad they hid everything that was most valuable.
“After all, soon after there was a battle near Przewodowo, Vandal warriors were buried in Podlodowo, Swaryczow and Tuczapy.”
The Vandals are mentioned in historical records by the Roman historian Pliny the Elder, in 77 AD.
The Germanic tribe is best known for sacking Rome in 455 AD, which was the third of four times ancient Rome was sacked.
The Vandals were then defeated in 534 AD at the Battle of Tricamarum in North Africa, during which their King Gelimer was defeated and the tribe fell apart.
Dr Kokowski said: “The rank of the discovery, of course, elevates my thesis about the ‘archaeological paradise of Hrubieszow’ to the skies, but also the fact key events in the history of Central Europe took place in the basin during the Roman period.
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“It looks like this is where the Vandals lost their funds for further fighting.
“Further, the find will cement the museum’s rank in the scientific consciousness of European archaeology, as the place where the most important sources for the study of prehistory have been collected.”
But this is not the first time archaeologists have come across Roman-era coins in Poland.
A team of researchers looking for a Medieval-era cemetery in the southeast of the country were instead surprised to discover a trove of Roman treasures.
Among them was a silver coin bearing the face of the Roman emperor Hadrian.
The archaeologists unearthed more than 2,800 artefacts, including bits of pottery and brooches.
A birdwatcher in England has also unearthed a hoard of Celtic and Roman-era coins worth £800,000.
The man, who chose to remain anonymous, said: “I saw the glint of gold and realised it was a beautiful Celtic gold stater, which made me sit down in sheer shock.”
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