Metal Detecting Enthusiast Finds the Greatest Collection of Ancient Roman Coins

December 17, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. enthusiast /ɛnˈθu ziˌæst, -ɪst/ (n.) – a person who has high interest on an activity or object
Example: My brother has been a baseball enthusiast ever since he started playing in the little league.

2. nonexistent /ˌnɒnɪɡˈzɪstənt/ (adj.) – not present or existing
Example: Professions like bankers and writers were nonexistent in historical times.  

3. excavate /ˈɛks kəˌveɪt/ (v.) – to dig out buried remains systematically and with great care
Example: A lot of treasures were uncovered after excavating the burial site.

4. ancient /ˈeɪn ʃənt/ (adj.) – very old or from a very distant past
Example: Typewriters are considered ancient because only a few people use them today.

5. keepsake /ˈkipˌseɪk/ (n.) – an object that stimulates memories of a person, place, activity, or event which it is associated with
Example: Angelo displayed his diploma as a keepsake from studying abroad.


Read the text below.
A metal detector enthusiast had found the biggest stash of 4th century Roman coins and spent three nights in his car to guard them.

Called as “Seaton Down Hoard,” the 22,000 copper-alloy Roman coins date back from AD260 to AD348 and bear images of Roman emperors. It was discovered by semiretired builder Laurence Egerton in November 2013 in East Devon, England.

Egerton took up metal detecting seven years ago and would usually unearth old ring pulls and shotgun cartridges. With enormous luck, he was able to pull out the largest and best preserved collection of Roman coins in Britain.

Back in the day, the coins would have been valued as a months’ wage for a typical Roman soldier or a worker’s pay for two years. Despite the actual value, historians say the coins are now worth hundred times over. It is believed that the collection of coins was buried for safekeeping because banks were still nonexistent at that time.

Egerton immediately reported his find to the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) upon discovery. He even contacted his wife, Amanda, who went to capture the moment on film.

After reporting, a team from the PAS took over to properly excavate and examine the coins. This year, one of the coins was declared as PAS’s one millionth find recorded since 1997.

The coins were temporarily displayed at the British Museum. The Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) in Exeter, Devon is raising funds in order to acquire the ancient coins. Egerton will split the earnings 50/50 with the landowner. He would also like to keep one coin as keepsake.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What would you do if you were the one to find the Roman coins?
·         Would you take up the hobby of metal detecting? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Why is it important to report findings of antique and ancient artifacts to authorities?
·         Do you think our present items could also be worth so much in the future? Why or why not?

December 17, 2014