War coins linked to ancient rebellion led by Queen Boudicca found in UK

War coins linked to ancient rebellion led by Queen Boudicca found in UK

A trove of Celtic coins, over 2,000 years old, was discovered in eastern England on Thursday by a bystander birdwatcher, as he peeled off mud to reveal the treasure, the Daily Mail initially reported. The birdwatcher, a man in his 50s, is also a metal-detecting enthusiast. He told Treasure Hunting magazine, a printed monthly dedicated to metal detecting, that he noticed the strong signal in a recently plowed field, and after digging nearly a half-a-meter down into the ground, he hit what was the jug that held the coins.Worth just over $1 million, or close to NIS 3.5 million, the coins date back to the Roman period, and tell a story of a rebellion. The coins date to about 40-50 CE, matching up well with the timeline of a local queen’s revolt in eastern England in either 60 or 61 CE against the occupying Romans, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. Queen Boudicca was married to Prasutagus, the ruler over the Iceni tribe in what is today Norfolk, about 190 km from the London area. He died in 60 CE, leaving his assets to his two daughters — he had no male heir — and to the Roman emperor at the time, Nero, in the hopes of ensuring his family’s protection in the absence of a male figure to lead the family. Prasutagus didn’t succeed in guaranteeing them that protection, however. The Romans mercilessly seized the land, plundered it, and rendered the family into disgrace. This exacerbated the already tense relationship between the occupying Romans and resident Britons.Boudicca led a revolt through the historical area known as East Anglia. The rebels in her lead burned military outposts and various districts throughout eastern England, killing approximately 70,000 Romans and “pro-Roman Britons.”

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She cleverly timed the insurgency to be when the provincial Roman governor, Suetonius Paulinus, was absent. According to Dio Cassius, whose historical account of the rebellion dates to the third century, “[A]ll this ruin was brought upon the Romans by a woman, a fact which in itself caused them the greatest shame,” notes National Geographic. Eventually Paulinus took control of the area, ending the rebellion. Boudicca allegedly died of either shock, poison by her own hand, or illness. National Geographic noted that there are only two historical sources that corroborate her story, and they do so in distinct ways. “It is possible that they [the coins] may form a deposit as a ‘war chest’ for Boudicca’s eastern campaigns,” said Jules Evans-Hart, Treasure Hunting magazine’s editor, according to the Daily Mail, linking the coins to the story of Boudicca’s rebellion. The BBC reported in July 2019 of another collection of coins found, and Dr. Anna Booth, who examined the coins at the time, estimated that they too might be linked to the same revolt.

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