TIME Switzerland

Treasure Trove of 4,166 Roman Coins Found in Swiss Molehill

Coins dating from the 3rd century
Kanton Aargau Swiss archaeologists discovered 4,166 coins dating from the 3rd century

Excavation started in July but the find was only announced Friday

Swiss archaeologists have unearthed a 33-lb. haul of bronze and silver coins dating from the third century. A farmer in the country’s northern municipality of Ueken made the find earlier this year in his cherry orchard, after spotting something glimmering in a molehill.

The man contacted his regional archaeological service, which spent several months excavating the 4,166 coins.

A few months ago the remains of a Roman settlement were excavated in the nearby town of Frick, leading the farmer to suspect the coins were Roman as well. In mint condition, the coins’ imprints allowed an expert to date them to the latter half of the third century, spanning the reigns of several emperors.

As for the farmer who found them some 1,700 years later, “he will likely get a finder’s fee,” Georg Matter, an archaeologist who worked on the excavation, told Agence France-Presse. “But the objects found belong to the public, in accordance with Swiss law.”

The discovery will be going on display at the Vindonissa de Brugg Museum in the canton of Aargau.

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