Hungarian archeologists unearth largest ever coin cache

7,000 coins from Roman to mid-medieval times that could buy seven horses

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Dénes Albert

At the end of December last year, Hungarian archeologists unearthed the country’s largest ever cache of late Roman to medieval coins near the village of Újlengyel in central Hungary, experts of the Ferenczy Museum announced. An extended search began after in 2019, the same location produced a cache of 150 medieval coins, prompting the archeologists to extend their search. During the December archeological exploration they searched for additional coins with a metal detector and found the treasure on a nearby hill, a little further from the original site.

The experts followed the trail of money and opened a 1×1-meter shaft from which a vessel was unearthed, the belly of which was torn out by a plow at some point, which scattered the coins. It is seldom observed in such detail how deep plowing destroys artifacts hidden in the ground. In the case of the treasure, the plow point broke the pot containing the coins in half and pulled them in a certain direction, so that the trace of the money lying in piles could be followed. The shattered pot could not be kept in one piece, so the coins in it were picked up on the spot.

The team led by archeologist Balázs Nagy said that the ensemble consisted of nearly 7,000 pieces of silver coins and 4 gold coins: the earliest mintage was a silver denarius of Lucius Verus (161–169), a dozen denarii of Aquileia, while the bulk of the coins was from the rules of King Matthias I (1458–1490), Ulászló II (1490–1516) and Louis II (1516-1526) While the majority of the coins are fairly common for their respective periods, a very rare Vatican denarius issued by Pope Pius (1458–1464) was also found

The archeological team said that the total value of the find would have amounted to about 74 gold forints at the time, the price of seven horses or a luxury car today. Based on the latest issued coins, archeologists say that the treasure could have been hidden by locals from the advancing troops of the Ottoman Empire. In 1526, the Turkish army, led by Pasha Ibrahim in 1526, moved from Buda to Szeged. Treasures of this magnitude related to the Turkish destruction following the battle of Mohács on August 29, 1526 — which marked the occupation of Hungary until 1718 — are rare in Hungary. Title image: Coin cache found in Újlengyel, central Hungary. (source: Ferenczy Museum)


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