The Seville Archaeological Museum said the employees were laying pipes in the area when they found 19 amphoras (containers) filled with thousands of bronze and silver-coated coins dating from the end of the fourth century. The clay pots, 10 of which were said to be unbroken, were found just over a meter (yard) below the ground.
Imágenes del hallazgo en Tomares (Sevilla) pic.twitter.com/Lhc8Ubgvev
— Ego Femina (@EgoFemina) April 28, 2016
“The machine that was working found something that was not normal on this terrain,” Lola Vallejo, Tomares Urban Councillor, told ABC de Sevilla about how the park workers made the discovery.
The 1,300 pound trove of coins are believed to have been minted right before they were stored away, possibly to pay soldiers or civil servants.
— Consejería Cultura (@CulturaAND) April 28, 2016
Museum director Ana Navarro said the discovery is unique for Spain and perhaps the world.
She declined to give a set value of the artifacts, but told The Local the coins were worth “certainly several million euros.”
“I could not give you an economic value, because the value they really have is historical and you can’t calculate that,” she said.
Navarro said the coins studied so far have the images of emperors Constantine and Maximian, with a variety of pictorial images on the reverse. The Romans began to conquer Spain in 218 B.C. and stayed in power until the fifth century.
Empiezan a identificarse las monedas halladas en Tomares. Destaca la presencia del emperador Diocleciano entre ellas pic.twitter.com/Fh2VgVPAKH
— Ego Femina (@EgoFemina) April 29, 2016
Navarro said the Spanish museum, which has no similar coins in its collection, has reached out to its counterparts in Britain, France, and Italy. The discovery appeared to be one of the most important from the period. Once the investigation is finalized, the coins will be displayed in the museum.
Construction work in the location of the find has been suspended while archaeologists continue to investigate.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.