Man finds 20,000 Roman coins while digging pond

One of the most significant collections of Roman coins to be found in Britain in recent years has been unearthed by a man digging a fishpond.

Ken Allen was 20 feet from his back door in Bristol when he found a ceramic urn, complete with lid, containing 15,000 to 20,000 bronze coins. It was four feet below the surface.

Archaeologists said yesterday that the haul was one of the largest collections of fourth-century Roman coins found in the south-west of England. Gail Boyle, of the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, said the coins dated back to the Emperor Constantine the Great (AD307-337). "It's surprising for the area as it's modern housing," she said.

Mr Allen, 47, a sales manager who has lived at the property for 15 years, said: "My old garden pond was inches away from the spot and I have planted trees in this area, so I was surprised that I hadn't discovered it before now."

If the find is classed as treasure Mr Allen may be entitled to a reward equal to the market value of the coins.

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