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Wednesday, 16 August, 2000, 15:24 GMT 16:24 UK
Pair cash in on Roman treasure
Roman coins
The coins date from 31 BC to AD 224
A museum has paid two treasure hunters 265,000 for the UK's largest hoard of Roman silver dinari coins.

Kevin Elliot, 33, found the haul of 9,213 coins in a field of barley stubble at his family farm in Shapwick, Somerset, with his cousin Martin Elliot, also 33, in August 1998.

An inquest ruled last November that the important national discovery was treasure and belonged to the two finders.

Roman solider John Smith, Kevin Elliott and Martin Elliott.
Cousins found haul within minutes of starting their hunt
The coins, dating from 31 BC to AD 224, have been bought by Somerset County Museum.

The money to purchase them has been donated by Somerset County Council, the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the National Art Collections Fund and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Mr Elliot's family had been farming the land as tenants for 36 years until they bought it in January 1998 - allowing them to use metal detectors there for the first time.

The cousins discovered the first coin at a gateway, just minutes after starting their hunt with the metal detector.

Milk buckets

Thirty minutes later, after discovering a scattering of other coins, they turned up a huge hoard of thousands of similar coins just under the surface.

They used milking buckets to collect their historic find.

The hoard included two coins of Manlia Scantilla, wife of the emperor Didius Julianus, who ruled for a few weeks in AD 193 during a period of civil war.

These were the first known coins of this type from a UK hoard.

Somerset County Museum officer, Stephen Minnitt, said he is still trying to raise 3,000 to pay for a display case for the coins.

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