Roman hoard

Hoard of Roman coins declared treasure

THIS is one of the largest collections of Roman coins ever found in the UK.

And today a metal detectorist is waiting to hear how much he will receive for unearthing the 1,900-year-old piggy bank in a field between Chepstow and Newport.

Brian Stephens found the collection, which dates back to between 54AD and 161AD, in a greyware pot in Llanvaches in June last year, after four hours’ digging.

PICTISH STRUCTURE BUILT ON CEMETERY

Archaeologists investigating the site of a Pictish monastery in Easter Ross thought to have been founded by St Columba in 565AD have discovered that it was built on top of a prehistoric cemetery.

The revelation follows the excavation of three 5th-century graves by a team of experts from York University, who have been working on the Tarbat Peninsula at Portmahomack since 1994.

Professor Martin Carver, who is leading the dig, yesterday said these were the first burial sites they had found outwith St Colman’s Church and they shone new light on why the monastery site was chosen.Prof Carver said there were Bronze Age and Iron Age burials all along the coast of the Tarbat Peninsula, many of them encountered years ago by builders. He said the three new examples of early graves, which came to light during the Tarbat dig, were 6ft 6in long and over 3ft 3in deep.

“One had large slabs of sandstone on all four sides of the skeleton, and a roof of slabs over the top,” he said.

A new exhibition of the Portmahomack archaeological discoveries funded by Highland 2007, opened recently at the Tarbat Discovery Centre.

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