Archaeologists Discover Hoard of Silver Roman Coins in Bulgaria
A hoard of 2,976 silver Roman coins from the 1st-2nd century AD has been unearthed by archaeologists during the excavations of the ruins of the Ancient Thracian and Roman city of Serdica in the Bulgarian capital Sofia.The silver coin treasure has been found hidden inside a ceramic jug with a lid in the structures from Ancient Serdica which are being excavated on the square near the St. Nedelya (Holy Sunday) Cathedral and the Hotel Balkan (formerly the Sofia Sheraton) as part of the efforts for the further study of the Thracian and Roman city and its partial archaeological restoration. The treasure of silver coins is the largest collective coin treasure to have ever been found during the excavations of Ancient Serdica, Sofia Municipality has announced.The coins in question were collected for a period of at least 100 years since the earliest ones are coins of Roman Emperor Vespasian (69-79 AD), and the latest – coins of Emperor Commodus (r. 177/180-192 AD). The vessel itself containing the silver coin treasure was found in Late Antiquity archaeological layers, i.e. the layers dating to the 3rd, 4th, and even the beginning of the 5th century AD but the treasure itself was certainly collected during the 1st and the 2nd century AD.There are also coins that feature almost all of the other Roman Emperors in-between and some of their wives, daughters, or sisters, from the Nerva-Antonine Dynasty (r. 96-192 AD) – including Emperor Nerva (r. 96 – 98 D), Emperor Trajan (r. 98-117 AD), Emperor Hadrian (r. 117-138 AD), Emperor Antonius Pius (r. 138-161 AD), as well as Vibia Sabina (wife of Emperor Hadrian), Faustina the Elder (wife of Emperor Antonius Pius), Faustina the Younger (daughter of Emperor Antonius Pius and wife of Emperor Marcus Aurelius), Bruttia Crispina (wife of Emperor Commodus), and Lucilla (daughter of Emperor Marcus Aurelius and elder sister of Emperor Commodus).
The discovery of the Roman silver coin treasure from Serdica is especially interesting because on the outside of the ceramic vessel containing the coins. Its (last) owner scratched their name – Selvius Calistus, apparently a Roman citizen with a Greek surname.
The silver treasure and the pottery vessels have been taken to the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences where experts are working on their further examination and restoration. Once they are done, the finds will be exhibited in the future Museum of Sofia’s History.