Hoard of ancient Roman coins discovered in theatre basement

The coins date back to the end of the Roman Empire in the 5th century.

The coins date back to the end of the Roman Empire in the 5th century. Photo: Twitter

Archaeologists are studying hundreds of ancient Roman coins found on the site of a former theatre in northern Italy.

The coins date back to the late Roman imperial era and were found in a soapstone jar in the basement of the Cressoni Theater in Como, north of Milan last week, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities say.

Italian media reported Sunday the coins could be worth millions of dollars.

“We do not yet know in detail the historical and cultural significance of the find ,” Italian Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli said in a statement.

“But that area is proving to be a real treasure for our archeology. A discovery that fills me with pride.”

The ministry did not place a value on the coins, sending 27 of the artifacts to be examined in Milan.

The historic Cressoni Threater was first opened in 1870 before later becoming a cinema, which closed in 1997. The site was due to be demolished before the finding.

Authorities now plan to suspend the work to allow further excavations, local media says.

According to the ministry, the site is not far from from the Novum Comum forum area – an ancient city where other important Roman artefacts have been discovered.

In 2016, authorities unearthed a 2000-year-old Roman gold coin in Jerusalem, dating back to 56-57 AD. The coin featured the face of Nero, the Roman emperor best known for playing the fiddle while ancient Rome burned.

The same year a team of archeologists found up to 10 Roman and Ottoman coins in a ruined castle in Okinawa, Japan.

A press conference is scheduled for Tuesday (AEST) when more details will be announced.

-with agencies

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