For this week’s Finds Friday, we’re looking at a Roman denarius from the Flavian Military Site at Roecliffe, North Yorkshire.
This silver denarius was issued in Rome in 80BC by L. Procilius, one of the consuls for that year. The obverse depicts the head of Jupiter, facing right, wearing a laurel wreath. On the reverse is the goddess Juno Sospita holding a shield and hurling a spear, with a snake at her feet.
It was found corroded into a lump with four bronze coins of Vespasian, which were minted between AD71–78, in a Roman ditch along with what may be the remains of an organic purse. Careful conservation allowed the coins to be separated and identified. The wear on the later coins indicates that they were probably lost soon after the coins were minted. Whoever lost them, most likely a soldier, would have probably been extremely upset!
Roman denarii could stay in circulation for up to several centuries, as they were made of good quality silver and, unlike modern currency, were not recalled upon the appointment of a new consul or emperor. This explains why a coin minted in 80BC was found mixed with coins minted nearly 100 years later.