Historic find in Chichester

A man from a metal-detecting group based in Selsey has made the discovery of his life after unearthing an extremely rare Roman coin.

Lawrence Ashman found the Roman Emperor Caligula coin during a routine club dig with the Manhood Search and Recovery Society in the Chichester area. The silver denarius was minted in Rome between 37 and 38AD.

Lawrence said what made the find more strange was the fact he had declared to his wife earlier that day he was off to find a Roman coin.

"I had been on the field for only five minutes when I got a signal. I dug down three or four inches and as soon as I saw the coin I knew it was Roman," said Lawrence. "When I gently brushed the soil away I knew it was a good find."

Lawrence found the coin using his Garrett Ace 250, something which he calls a 'real coin finder'.

The coin was handed to Sussex finds liaison officer Laura Burnett at the Chichester Museum. She said: "It's not classed as treasure because it's a single coin. It's the sort of coin that would have gone out of date soon after it was minted."

She added: "The coin was issued to honour the emperor Caligula's mother Agrippina after she died. The coin has the emperor on one side and the empress on the other.

"Denarius of Caligula are rarely found in Britain because they were minted before the conquest so didn't come to Britain in large numbers before 43AD. Of the 140,000 Roman coins recorded by PAS, only 36 are of Caligula.

"This is the first of this exact type although there was a similar one, minted at Lyon instead of Rome, recorded in Wales."

Lawrence said: "Belonging to a thriving club like ours is educational and an excellent way of learning and sharing our history with other metal detectorists. For me it's the excitement of never knowing what you may dig up."

Contact the club by email at msrs138@yahoo.co.uk

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