Summer 2016, somewhere in the Netherlands

As most of us metal detector enthusiasts know, summer isn’t the best season to practice our hobby. Therefore, armed with my XP Deus I was driving across the middle of the Netherlands all morning searching for a suitable location to search. Gaining permission was proving to be very difficult as everything was under crop.

Eventually I found an orchard which was situated on much higher ground compared to the surrounding area, potentially it looked very interesting. Using a quick internet search, I discovered that this area had lots of history historically so I decided to locate the land owner.

After locating the land owner and gaining permission I started detecting the area. An hour passed without any signals so I decided to try my luck elsewhere, still in the same orchard but a different area. This turned out to be a good decision. In the second coil sweep I found 2 bronze roman coins. Immediately I thought “this is the right spot”.  With the next sweep I got a nice sharp signal my XP Deus sang out loud and clear, as I started to dig the first spade full I could see a Gold coloured disc. However, as most of us European metal detectors enthusiasts known, a Gold coloured coin most of the time isn’t an actual Gold coin but a 10, 20 or 50-euro cent coin. Therefore, my initial thoughts were reserved.

 When I rubbed the sand away I immediately recognized it was a stunning roman coin! It turned out not be 1 Gold coin, but 2 Gold coins! Adrenaline was pumping trough my body, I could not believe what I had just found…. 2 Gold roman coins. I picked up my Deus and swept across the area… Bang! another signal.

Could this be another Gold coin? Odds told me it couldn’t. I took my shovel and turned over the soil….. I could not believe my eyes. Not 1, not 2, but 3 Gold roman coins, they just kept appearing out of the soil….. After an hour of frantic digging, I uncovered an unbelievable 18 Gold Roman coins. After coin number 18 my XP Deus did not give any more sounds. Could this be really true? Did I actually find 18 Gold roman coins?

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To this date, while I am writing this down, I still cannot believe that I actually found roman Gold coins, let alone being of such a great historically meaning. It is a boy’s dream come true.

I went back to my car and sat down for a while, thinking about the big discovery I had just made.  I realize this was a one of a kind find and after a few weeks I contacted a local archaeologist and reported my find. Here in the Netherlands detectorists report their finds through the (PAN) Portable Antiquities of the Netherlands, which is partly funded by the NWO. I was told this was a unique find for the Netherlands.

And now the story takes an interesting turn, after talking with the archaeologists about my find, they made me aware of more ancient coins including 8 Gold had been found by 2 detectorists on exactly the same spot back in 2012. After tracking them down I met up with the finders, Cees-jan van de pol and Dirk van Ommeren, we have been good friends since.

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Cees-Jan van de pol and Dirk Van found many coins here in 2012 also using XP machines.

  • 5 Valentinian II 375-392
  • 10 Honorius 398-423
  • 12 Constantine III 407-411
  • 1 Jovinus 411-413
  • 1 Johannes 423-425
  • 8 Valentinian III 425-455 of which 2 Visigothic imitations
  • 3 Valentinian II / III
  • 1 Maiorianus 457-461

This coin hoard is the largest solidi treasure ever to be found in the Netherlands and the youngest Roman gold treasure from north western Europe. We visited the site later in the year with the archaeologists and can report no further coins were found. The hoard is known as the Lienden Gold hoard, and consisted of 42 coins, the finders and the land owner have given the coins to the museum in the form of a long-term loan.

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The latest coins shown below bears the likeness of Emperor Majorian, who ruled from 457 to 461. This implies that the treasure must have been buried sometime around 460 or shortly after.

The Emperor Majorian, who ruled from 457 to 461

 

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