THREE pals on a camping trip unearthed a hoard of Roman coins just a few feet from where they had pitched their tent.
Dave Allen digs up one of the Roman coinsCredit: SWNS
The friends dug up 161 coins and took them home in a washing up bowlCredit: SWNS
Finder Robert Abbot, 53, initially thought he had just found a bunch of old metal tent pegs after his machine activated just six feet away from the campsite.
But buried further down was a silver Roman Siliqua coin.
He continued to search and his detector went off in a frenzy.
Friends, Dave Allen, 59, and Mick Rae, 63, joined in and began to dig up the coins.
By the time the weekend was up, they had uncovered 161 silver coins, all about 1,600 years old and took them home in their washing up bowl.
The coins date from 340 to 602AD and are believed to have been buried as Anglo-Saxon invaders overran Britain as the Roman empire was declining.
The “Pewsey Hoard,” as it has become known, is now going under the hammer with the auction house Noonans in London.
Rob, who runs a computer shop in Essex, said: “Having finished breakfast first, I turned on my machine and having walked around six paces from the tent, I found several tent pegs and just under the surface a late Roman silver siliqua in pristine condition.
“A few moments later beside it, I found another one. Ironically, we had been camping there two weeks previous for a week-long detecting outing.
“What we hadn’t realised is we’d actually camped right on top of the area where the coins were found.
“We were so excited and we’re looking forward to the auction – but we have no idea how we’ll spend the money.”
Coin specialist at Noonans, Nigel Mills, said the coins were in “mint” condition.
He said: “Virtually, all of the coins are in mint condition and have not even needed to be cleaned since their discovery.
“The hoard was buried at a time when Roman rule in Britain under the Emperor Honorius was no longer viable with the army being recalled to protect other provinces.
“In AD 410 Britain was told to protect itself by Honorius. As a result, Britain has become a treasure island of late 4th Century and early 5th Century gold and silver Roman coin and jewellery hoards as the local population buried their valuables and then fell victim to Saxon raids.
“Detector finds in recent years include the Thetford and Hoxne hoards.”
The hoard will be sold on May 17.
The hoard of coins was found just 6ft from where the pals had pitched their tentsCredit: SWNS
The entire find is expected to fetch around £40,000 at auctionCredit: SWNS
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