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These coins are no small change

Spanish construction workers carrying out routine work on water pipes in southern Spain literally hit pay dirt when they found 600kg of ancient Roman coins.

Dating back to the late 3rd and early 4th centuries, the bronze coins, some probably bathed in silver, were found on Wednesday inside 19 Roman jars in the town of Tomares near Seville.

The coins are stamped with the inscriptions of emperors Maximian and Constantine, and they appeared not to have been in circulation as they show little evidence of wear and tear.

It is thought that they were intended pay for the army or for civil servants. Ms Ana Navarro, head of Seville’s Archaeology Museumwhich is looking after the find, said the coins were worth “several million euros”.

Work on the water pipes has been suspended.

There are now plans to carry out an archaeological excavation on the site.

The Romans conquered the Iberian Peninsula in 218BC, ruling until the early 5th century when they were ousted by the Visigoths.

AGENCE FRANCE–PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 30, 2016, with the headline 'These coins are no small change'. Print Edition | Subscribe