Roman criminals detected by award winning amateur archaeologist

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by Björn Schöpe

July 28, 2011 – A national award has been given to an amateur archaeologist after uncovering a coin press, which may have been used to make counterfeit currency in Roman times. Tom Clarke has been metal detecting for more than 40 years. He found some unmarked bronze coins and a small anvil in a field in Wing.
The blank discs are the halfway stage of someone making their own coins and have been dated to around 300 AD. Tom has donated the find to the Bucks County Museum. He himself won in the ‘most significant hoard’ category in the Nations’ Greatest Find competition, run by The Searcher magazine. On Monday he was presented with his award in a ceremony.

Brett Thorne, one of the museum archaeologists, said: “Due to a shortage of official coins at this time many people started making their own. In many cases they were probably tolerated by the authorities. The values we are talking about are minimal. If they were making silver coins it would be different.”

At the ceremony Bucks County Council cabinet member Martin Phillips said: “Today we see a great example of a partnership between four very different groups, an individual metal detective, the County Museum, the National Portable Antiquities Scheme and the Searcher.”
Mr Phillips thanked Tom Clarke for his generosity in donating the find to the museum and congratulated the museum workers in identifying the significance and importance of the find.

Read the whole article here.

To visit the website of the magazine The Searcher click here.