Saturday, November 4, 2023, 11:15 p.m
ROME — A diver’s discovery of something metallic near the coast of Sardinia led to the discovery of tens of thousands of ancient bronze coins.
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Italy’s Culture Ministry said Saturday that the diver alerted authorities, who dispatched divers assigned to an art protection squad along with other divers from the ministry’s underwater archeology department.
The coins, dating from the first half of the fourth century, were found in seaweed not far from the northeast coast of the Mediterranean island. The ministry did not say exactly when the first diver caught a glimpse of something metallic off the coast of Sardinia, not far from the city of Arzachena.
It is not yet clear how many coins were recovered as they are being sorted. According to a statement from the ministry, there are at least around 30,000, and possibly even 50,000 if their total weight is taken into account.
“All coins were in an excellent and rare condition,” the ministry said. The few damaged coins still had legible inscriptions, it was said.
“The treasure found in the waters off Arzachena represents one of the most important coin discoveries in recent years,” said Luigi La Rocca, an official from the Sardinian archeology department.
La Rocca added in a statement that the find is “further evidence of the richness and importance of the archaeological heritage that the seabed of our seas, traversed by people and goods from the most ancient eras, still preserves and preserves.”
Divers from the fire department and border police were also involved in locating and recovering the coins.
The coins were found mainly in a wide area of sand between the underwater seaweed and the beach, the ministry said. Given the location and shape of the seabed, there could be remains of shipwrecks nearby, the ministry said.
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