A diver made a rare discovery while exploring a seabed off the coast of Sardinia, Italy: 30,000 to 50,000 ancient Roman coins that may be evidence of a nearby hidden shipwreck more than a thousand years old.
A diver noticed something metallic peeking through the sand of a shallow area of the Mediterranean Sea, off the northern-east coast of Sardinia. The Guardian confirmed .
After sending a professional team of divers and archeologists to investigate, Italy’s ministry of culture confirmed that the treasure trove contained between 30,000 and 50,000 bronze Roman coins, The Guardian reported, translating a news release from the ministry.
The coins are called follis, which Roman emperor Diocletian introduced in AD 294, according to The Guardian. Italy’s ministry of culture estimates that this specific cache of coins dates back to sometime between AD 324 and 340, CNN reported.
Still legible and well preserved, the ancient Greek or Roman coins were discovered with the remains of narrow-necked, Greek-style jugs. Only four are damaged.
“(The discovery) highlights the importance and richness of our archaeological heritage, which is still being guarded and preserved by the seabed that has been traversed and used for centuries, and the Sardinian Archaeology Department official Luigi La Rocca said, in a press release from the Ministry, CNN.
La Rocca added that the discovery is “one of the most important coin discoveries” in recent years, according to the AP.
Archeologists may need to act sooner than later if they want to discover the shipwreck.
According to CNN, La Rocca said in the press release that the region is “a very fragile one, constantly threatened by natural phenomena and human action.”
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