Fugitive’s coin hoard


WITH A SACK OF 20 SILVER AND BRONZE COINS CLOSE TO HIS CHEST, THE POMPEIAN FUGITIVE MADE HIS ESCAPE

He escaped from the eruptive fury of Vesuvius with the hope of saving himself, and for this he carried with him a small hoard of coins which would have allowed him to continue life.

During the course of excavations currently underway at the Regio V site, where the skeleton of an escapee who had been struck by a rock - which crushed his head and thorax - was found, 20 silver and 2 bronze coins have emerged, which were stored in a small purse which the individual clutched close to his chest. While the remains of the victim were gradually being removed to be taken to the Laboratory of Applied Research at the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, in order to continue the investigation, sure enough a precious find in the form of 3 coins was initially found between the ribs.

The coins are being studied by numismatists in order to determine their cut and value, while the decomposed remains of the small, purselike container will be analysed in the laboratory with the aim of identifying the material.

At first glance it would appear that twenty silver denarii and two bronze asses with a nominal value of eighty and half sesterces have been found. Such a quantity of money at the time could maintain a family of three for 14-16 days.

The coins exhibit a highly varied chronology.

It has been possible to examine 15 - mostly Republican - coins, dating from the middle of the 2nd century BC. One of the latest Republican coins is a legionary denarius of Mark Antony, commonly found at Pompeii, with the indication of the XXI Legion. Among the few Imperial coins identified, we have a likely denarius of Octavian Augustus and two denarii of Vespasian.

Pompeii, 1 June 2018

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