Page last updated at 11:40 GMT, Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Roman coins join museum display

Oldest Roman coin in the hoard
The oldest coin on display is thought to be more than 2,200 years old

Coins dating back to Roman times that were found on a farm in West Sussex have gone on display at a museum.

They are from a hoard of 103 coins found on land in Petworth in 2006 and later declared as treasure under the Treasure Act.

Chichester District Museum raised funds to buy the coins from the Crown and put them on display.

The oldest of the coins is thought to be more than 2,200 years old, predating the Roman invasion of 43AD.

Museum staff said the most recent coin in the collection depicted Emperor Hadrian on his return to Italy from the second Jewish Rebellion, which lasted from 132-136 AD.

Little is known about the early history of this town
Councillor Nick Thomas

The coins are thought to equate to a third of a year's wages for a Roman soldier, and could indicate that wealthy people lived in the Petworth area in Roman times.

Councillor Nick Thomas said: "The Petworth Hoard both aids our understanding of Emperor Hadrian's British connection and his campaigns in Europe, and enables us to develop our knowledge on the practice of hoarding valuable items.

"It also makes a significant contribution to the early history of the District and the civil parish of Petworth.

"Although mentioned in the Domesday Book, little is known about the early history of this town and evidence of Roman activity in Petworth is negligible."

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