200 AD, not too far from today Lublin, in Poland, there was a camp, or perhaps a village, where many Germanic populations, most likely Vandals, decided to stop by, perhaps for a while, perhaps for good. But “for good”, back then, in those messy years of migration of the Barbaric people from Northern Europe, was a useless term. The Goths were nuverous, well armed and combative.

Warrior Goths

The Vandals were not used to surrender before a fight, on the contrary they were trying their best. In Poland there are several Vandal cemeteries, buried with their weapons as a statement that they had fought with honour. However on that camp near Lublin perhaps they understood there was no chance to face the Goths any longer. In the chaos of the moment in which saving your own life was the number 1 priority, someone buried a treasure of Silver Roman coins, maybe hoping to unearth it one day. The hope was vain, though.

No one came back to reclaim them

The Roman coins found in Poland

Above: picture by Stanisław Staszic – Muzeum Hrubieszów

This story was told by the 1,753 Silver Denarii randomly discovered in a farmland around Cichobórz, village of Eastern Poland close to the border to Ukraine.

Above: picture by  Stanisław Staszic – Muzeum Hrubieszów

In 2019 a farmer, Marius Dyl, was after abandoned stag’s antlers when he bumped into some coins which he recognised to be ancient. The coins were not all in the same spot but scattered within a radius of a 100 m (328 ft), moved by the agricultural machines, used to plough the soil. Dyl contacted immediately the museum of the nearby city of Hrubieszów, which spread the news on the 30th March 2019 and the archaeologists could not believe their eyes. Andrzej Kokowski from the Lublin Institute of Archaeologist proudly said:

“This treasure will be the crown of the Polish archaeology “

Above: picture by Stanisław Staszic – Muzeum Hrubieszów

The coins, weighing 5 kg in total (11 lbs) dates back to the 1st-2nd century AD and they were represent, if not a treasure, a rather important sum for whoever owned it.

According to the Polish archaeologists, the coins tell a story of a Vandal who had earned that money by trading with the Romans, or by serving them in their legions. The denarii were preserved perhaps in a wooden box or a leather bag, but whatever that might have been, it had allowed the recovery of them all at the same time.

The treasure talks also about the Vandals who had to move away in a fast pace, pushed by the violence of the Goths who went settling down in the nowadays Ukraine. Later on the Vandals and even more the Goths, contributed to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. That’s another story though.

The Roman denarii, studied also by the University of Warsaw, are property of the Museum of Hrubieszów, which, during the Covid time, set up for a virtual exhibition, waiting for better days to show them to visitors in real life.

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