Rare Roman coin may have been 'deliberately damaged'
A Roman coin of the last Pagan Roman Empire which was unearthed by two metal detectorists may have been deliberately damaged as an act of “erasure”, a British Museum expert has claimed.
The coin depicts Julian the Apostate a member of the Roman Empire’s Christian dynasty, who helped re-instate Paganism when he became the emperor in AD361.
It was found near Lynn, last year and is believed to have been hidden during the AD37 Barbarian Conspiracy, a dark period for the region, which saw an alleged invasion attempt by Picts and Saxons.
A gouge around Julian’s eyes on the coin could be an “act of erasure” against the last Pagan emperor, who was a Christianity convert and imposed it as the empire’s official religion in the AD350s, the expert believes.
The coin was discovered as part of a hoard of around 15 gold and 226 silver coins found in a field.
Adrian Marsden, a coin specialist with the Norfolk Historic Environment Service, has dismissed the claims.
He said: "I believe it looks more like accidental damage as other Julian coins discovered in the hoard remain untouched".
Dr Marsden thinks the invasion may not have taken place.
He said: "Reports about it only came from one source.
"I wonder whether the turmoil might have been an internal rebellion”.
Julian was appointed Caesar in AD355 and upon taking charge he tried to re-introduce Paganism but died after being hit with a spear during battle in Persia.