2,000-Year-Old Roman Bronze Coins Found in Switzerland - Gainesville Coins News
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2,000-Year-Old Roman Bronze Coins Found in Switzerland

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2,000-Year-Old Roman Bronze Coins Found in Switzerland

A team of archaeologists in Switzerland are trying to make sense of a discovery that traces its origins back nearly two millennia.

Somewhat strangely, a ceramic cooking pot filled with oil lamps and bronze coins was found during an effort to clear residential space in the Swiss canton (province) of Aargau. The items date to the first century C.E.

The researchers are still scratching their heads as to the significance and purpose of the find.

Mysterious Lamps

Each of the lamps bears different decorations, such as the moon goddess Luna, or a lion, or a gladiator. There are 22 of these lamps, and each one has a low-denomination bronze coin carefully placed inside. Because of the low value of the coins, which date to about 66 C.E., the archaeological experts are speculating that there is something symbolic and ritualistic about these items.

Adding to the hunch is the fact that there's no clear practical purpose to the arrangement of items. No signs of human remains or ashes were found, excluding the possibility that this was an urn. Nonetheless, some apparent ritual seems to have involved the coins and lamps.

Photo courtesy of the Aargua Canton Archaeology Department Photo courtesy of the Aargua Canton Archaeology Department

Adding to the mystery is the fact that no similar ritual artifacts of this kind have ever been found beforeā€”in Switzerland or elsewhere. Therefore, researchers really have nothing to use as comparison.

Of course, even with all of the unknowns, the discovery is still illuminating for what it can offer to modern observers. While previous archaeological work confirmed human habitation in this area of Switzerland, the fact that Roman presence can be confirmed shows that Roman legions apparently made it through the imposing mountains of the Swiss Alps even with the technology of the time period.

Historians and archaeologists alike are perhaps most excited by the puzzling unanswered questions that remain, however.


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About the Author

Everett Millman

Everett Millman

Analyst, Commodities and Finance
Managing Editor

Everett has been the head content writer and market analyst at Gainesville Coins since 2013. He has a background in History and is deeply interested in how gold and silver have historically fit into the financial system.

In addition to blogging, Everett's work has been featured in CoinWeek, Advisor Perspectives, Wealth Management, Activist Post, and has been referenced by the Washington Post.

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