TREASURE hunters have made the find of a lifetime after unearthing a tiny silver Roman coin which is estimated to be worth £80,000. Historians say the find could transform the world’s understanding of Roman history as it is only the second such coin to be found featuring “usurper” Emperor Proculus. Metal detectors Colin Popplewell, 58, a Body Shop manager, and Mark Hildreth, 38, a joiner, are ecstatic that the thousands of hours they have spent on their hobby may have finally landed them a huge windfall. [...] Father-of-two Colin, who made the find in a field near Stamford Bridge, East Yorkshire, last week said: “Our find is groundbreaking because it validates the first coin and gives weight to the history of Proculus – it really will change the history books.”The coin was found on November 7th 2012, and pretty quickly identified for them by "leading metal detecting expert" Julian Evan-Hart who is quoted as saying:“It is true history will have to be rewritten as there are now two coins of Proculus in the world – how great is that?” So now we measure "greatness" of a historical fact by how many coins have been beeped up? What do the finders mean that the find "gives weight to the history of Proculus"? That history cannot exist, is somehow insubstantial, foggier, less understandable if there are no coins to illustrate it? What nonsense.
It may come as a bit of a surprise to metal detectorists, but the name "Proculus" is not exactly unknown. There has been a Wikipedia entry for him from December 2004 for example. The history of this brief reign is based in part on the Classical source, the Historia Augusta. Proculus has been in the history books since at least Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (vol. I. chapter 12).
There is a bit of a problem though with "contributing to history" since this coin is not in the PAS database. The coin was instead entered on the pirate private database "for metal detectorists by metal detectorists and screw the system": UKDFD Ref. No. - 39525 ("Date Recorded, Fri November 9, 2012" (ie two days after it was found); "Recorded elsewhere: No"). The fact that it is missing however is not the finders' fault (see the next post).
The name of the finder is given as "hidden" on the UKDFD, so it is not clear whether the other finds of "Hidden Popplewell" and/or "Hidden Hildreth" illustrated in the newspaper article captioned "Some of the other items found at the same site" have been recorded anywhere, or where. What however is clear from this published information is that the coin was not an isolated find at a place of no archaeological interest, it has been taken from a site producing much other Roman material, not all of it entirely mundane. Have these two targeted a known archaeological site to produce their 40-80k coin?
|Some of the other items found at the same site" (York Press)|
Pocklington Post: History-changing coin found near Stamford Bridge
Express: We may have picked up £80,000 by finding a tiny Roman coin in a Field
York Press: Rare Roman coin worth £60,000 found in field near Stamford Bridge
Photos: Top Camoflaged so you can't see them coming?, spade men Colin Popplewell and Mark Hildreth. Bottom, other finds from the same findspot.