The Frome Hoard, a pot-bellied Roman jar stuffed with 52,503 coins,has found a permanent home in the county where it was discovered, the Somerset County Museum at Taunton Castle which reopens to the public after a £7m revamp.
When hospital chef Dave Crisp found the hoard last year with a second-hand metal detector, the largest collection ever found in a single container in Britain, the news went round the world.
The museum has acquired the entire hoard for £320,000 – with a grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund – but coin experts, conservators and historians will be poring over some of the coins for years to come. Some have been cleaned so they shine like gold, but though many are exceptionally rare, including a unique group minted for Carausius, a Roman general who responded to a charge of embezzlement by having himself declared emperor, and lasted three years before being murdered by his chancellor – they are mostly grimy-green-streaked copper alloy, with a scattering of silver. Thousands are still corroded into lumps which will be teased apart by conservators before the experts can examine them.