A hoard of coins of the Roman Republic discovered in the wall of a house in France

A hoard of coins of the Roman Republic discovered in the wall of a house in France
A hoard of coins of the Roman Republic discovered in the wall of a house in France

Specialists of the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research of France (Inrap), during excavations in the town of Mourvelle-le-Montpellier in the Occitania region in the south of the country, discovered the remains of a large building, in one of the walls of which a pot with coins of the Roman Republic was hidden.

According to the Inrap website, the treasure was found during the excavation of a huge building built in the 1st century BC. In an ordinary clay pot, 20 denarii of the Roman Republic were hidden. The pot of coins was placed in a special niche in the wall, which was then carefully sealed so that no traces were left on the wall.

It is difficult to judge who and when hid this treasure. It is only clear that the owner never returned for it. The coins were kept in the wall of the building, which amazed scientists with its size. Excavations have shown that it was built on the site of more ancient demolished buildings. By the way, there was a Gallic city here before the Roman period.

Archaeologists have established that this building had three wings, which were located around a large central courtyard. Some rooms could be accessed directly from this courtyard, other rooms were located at a distance from it.

Uncharacteristic building elements were also found. For example, in one of the rooms the floor was made of amphorae. In another room, judging by the archaeological traces, there was a smithy. Surprisingly, all indications are that it has only been used once. Other elements turned out to be so mysterious that it has not yet been possible to identify the purpose of most of the rooms, but scientists believe that it was some kind of public building open to the general public.

We add that this Gallic city was called Oppidum. It was founded at the beginning of the 2nd century BC by the Samnagens, one of the Gallic tribes. By the way, this people is mentioned in the work "Natural History" by Pliny the Elder.

Oppidum was a well fortified settlement built on a hill. During the Roman period, the city was renamed Castellas. Its area was almost 30 hectares, it was surrounded by a monumental wall and divided into the upper city (it lay on the flat top of the hill and included several more terraces below it) and the lower city (it lay on a gentle slope at the foot of the hill). At the junction of the upper and lower cities, there was a large forum with two porticos and public buildings with columns.

It is known from written sources that this city fell into decay in the 2nd century AD. First, it became part of the larger neighboring Roman colony of Nemaus, now the city of Nîmes, and then quickly came to its collapse.

Finally, Oppidum was abandoned by the middle of the 3rd century and was no longer built. The modern city of Murvel-le-Montpellier was founded only in the 11th century AD and is located on a hill south of Castellas. Therefore, it can be assumed that the treasure was hidden in the period from the 1st century BC to the 3rd century AD.