Vindolanda dig unearths rare Roman gold coin

Both sides of the Nero coin The coin, bearing the image of Emperor Nero, dates from AD 64-65

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A rare gold coin bearing the image of Roman emperor Nero has been unearthed in Northumberland.

Deputy director of excavations Justin Blake, left, with Marcel Albert Deputy director of excavations Justin Blake, left, with Marcel Albert, who uncovered the rare coin

It is the first gold coin to be found at the Roman fort site of Vindolanda where archaeologists have been digging for more than 40 years.

Dr Andrew Birley, director of excavations, described it as a "special" find.

It is likely to be put on display at Vindolanda's museum once it has been fully researched and documented.

The coin was found by dig volunteer Marcel Albert, from Nantes in France.

'Magical moment'

He said: "I thought it can't be true. It was just sitting there as I scraped back the soil, shining, as if someone had just dropped it."

Archaeologists said the image of Nero dated it to AD 64-65 and added it would equate to more than half a year's salary for a serving soldier.

It was found in Vindolanda's 4th Century level and so would have been lost about 300 years after it was made.

Justin Blake, deputy director of excavations, said: "My first find at Vindolanda nearly 20 years ago was a coin.

"But because of their scarcity, I didn't think for a moment that I would ever see a gold coin unearthed at the site.

"It was an absolutely magical moment for the whole team."

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