(MENAFN) The chance discovery by a diver off the coast of Sardinia, Italy, of something metallic beneath the waters has led to the remarkable revelation of tens of thousands of ancient bronze coins. The Italian culture ministry announced this intriguing find on Saturday, revealing that the initial sighting by the diver prompted swift action by authorities, who dispatched divers from an art protection squad, in conjunction with experts from the ministry's undersea archaeology department.
The coins, which have been dated to the first half of the fourth century, were located in an area covered with sea grass not far from the northeastern coast of Sardinia. The exact timeline of the initial discovery, where the first diver glimpsed something metallic, wasn't specified by the ministry.
The precise count of coins that have been recovered has not been confirmed as yet, as they are currently undergoing sorting and assessment. The ministry's statement suggests that there are at least approximately 30,000 coins, with the possibility that the number could be as high as 50,000, based on their collective weight.
What makes this discovery particularly fascinating is the exceptional state of preservation in which these coins have been found. Even the few coins that suffered some damage retained legible inscriptions, showcasing their historical significance.
Luigi La Rocca, an official from the Sardinian archaeology department, described this find as one of the most significant coin discoveries in recent years. He emphasized the richness and importance of the archaeological heritage hidden beneath the seabeds of the seas, which have been traversed by people and goods since ancient times, preserving their historical legacy.
The discovery involved a collaborative effort that included firefighter divers and border police divers, underscoring the collective determination to unveil and protect this archaeological treasure trove. The coins were primarily located in a broad expanse of sand positioned between the underwater seagrass and the beach. Given the location and the underwater terrain's shape, there is a possibility of nearby shipwreck remnants, suggesting a potentially deeper layer of historical artifacts beneath the seabed.
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