The Sandridge Hoard
The Sandridge Hoard is a collection of 159 gold coins. They were found by a metal detectorist on private land to the north of St Albans, in Hertfordshire, in 2012. They make up one of the largest hoards of Roman gold coins found in the UK and date from the late fourth to early fifth centuries.
In Roman Britain, gold coins, known as solidi, were extremely valuable and were not traded or exchanged on a regular basis. They would have been used for large transactions such as buying land or goods by the shipload.
Evidence suggests these coins formed part of a buried hoard that had been disturbed at some point during the last couple of hundred years by, for example, ploughing. During the Roman occupation of Britain, people buried coins for two reasons, either as a sacrifice to their Gods or as a form of secure storage. In the latter case, this would be a temporary measure to protect their wealth when faced with a threat of war or while undertaking a long journey.
The coins in this hoard date to the closing years of the fourth century and start of the fifth. They were issued under five Roman emperors: Gratian, Valentinian II, Theodosius, Arcadius and Honorius. They would have been made in the western mints of the Empire, mostly in the Italian cities of Milan, Rome and Ravenna.
You can see some of the coins on permanent display at Verulamium Museum.