One of the fascinating things about great archaeological finds or uncovered treasure is that it often occurs by accident or pure happenstance. (The chance discovery of the "Saddle Ridge Hoard" of gold coins, worth as much as $10 million collectively, by a couple walking their dog in the backyard is just one prime example.)
One such accidental discovery was made in Eastern Europe this week. In Bulgaria, the Department of Ecology was notified of a tree that needed removal. The fruit tree was straddling the boundary line between two private properties in the city of Mezdra, so its removal seemed to be the simplest way to avoid any kind of dispute.
However, once the tree was uprooted, there was a strange discovery made: a ceramic pot filled with 182 silver coins was found beneath where the tree had been! The story was reported by the FOCUS information agency on Wednesday.
There has still been no word about how far back the coins date, what size they are, or what kinds of designs and inscriptions they bear. Given the location, the coins could be ancient. (Many ancient coin hoards, especially from the Roman period, are found buried within clay or ceramic pots.) All the same, the coins could date to a much more recent period. No greater details about the coins themselves has been made public so far.
We do know that the coins are being held by a local museum in Bulgaria and will soon be valuated by the country's Ministry of Culture.
Given that the rest of Europe doesn't have the same equitable "treasure finder" laws as the U.K., the coins are by default the cultural property of the state.
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