Buried Cache: Roman Coins Found at Site

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Bronze coins similar to this were found at an archaeological excavation in Rome. (The coin pictured is not one found at the site.)

[ROME, ITALY] A treasure of coins from the 3rd century B.C. was found intact at the Vulci archaeological site, according to a statement from the site’s scientific department.

The discovery included 15 large bronze coins found above the closing tile of a burial site along with an iron strigil and numerous ceramics. It is believed that this was part of a funeral ritual for two deceased.

One of those buried there had another coin similar to the others on his left shoulder. There was also a bronze clasp and other iron and ceramic objects that completed the burial kit. His death may have been the result of an iron spear found near the skull.

The second buried there was cremated. The incinerated bones were wrapped in a shroud that was probably closed with the bronze clasp that was found next to it.

The coins are part of the first Roman issue and have the image of the god Janus Bifrons on one side and the prow of a boat on the other, symbolizing the passage of the dead from the world of the living to the underworld.

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Carlo Casi, the scientific director at the Vulci Foundation, said, “More than 100 tombs have been excavated, dating between the middle of the 8th century to the 2nd century B.C. In this specific case, the study of the context is interesting, because it allows us to better define the social continuity between the Etruscans and the Romans, following the conquering of Rome that took place in 280 B.C.”

The digs were a collaboration between the Superintendency for Archaeology, Fine Art and Landscape for Metropolitan Rome; the province of Viterbo and Southern Etruria; the Vulci Foundation; and the City of Montalto di Castro.

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