600 kg of Roman coins discovered in Spanish town

Roman era bronze coins are displayed at Seville's Archeology Museum on April 28
Roman era bronze coins are displayed at Seville's Archeology Museum on April 28PHOTO: AFP
Roman era bronze coins are displayed at Seville's Archeology Museum on April 28.
Roman era bronze coins are displayed at Seville's Archeology Museum on April 28.PHOTO: AFP
A Roman era amphora filled with bronze coins is displayed at Seville's Archeology Museum on April 28.
A Roman era amphora filled with bronze coins is displayed at Seville's Archeology Museum on April 28.PHOTO: AFP
A woman opening a bag filled with Roman era bronze coins at Seville's Archeology Museum on April 28.
A woman opening a bag filled with Roman era bronze coins at Seville's Archeology Museum on April 28.PHOTO: AFP

SEVILLE, Spain (AFP) - Construction workers have found 600 kg of ancient Roman coins while carrying out routine work on water pipes in southern Spain, local officials said.

"It is a unique collection and there are very few similar cases," Ms Ana Navarro, head of Seville's Archeology Museum which is looking after the find, told a news conference on Thursday (April 28).

Dating back to the late third and early fourth centuries, the bronze coins were found on Wednesday inside 19 Roman amphoras, a type of jar, in the town of Tomares near Seville.

Ms Navarro declined to give a precise estimate for the value of the haul, saying only that the coins were worth "certainly several million euros".

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 civil servants.

"The majority were newly minted and some of them probably were bathed in silver, not just bronze," said Ms Navarro.

"I could not give you an economic value, because the value they really have is historical and you can't calculate that."

Local officials have suspended the work on the water pipes and plan to carry out an archaeological excavation on the site.

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