The treasure of Valsadornín.

One wet morning on August 19, 1937 on a muddy path that connected two small villages of Valsadornín and Gramedo in Palencia, in north-western Spain. An ancient copper cauldron full of Gold was revealed at the base of a stone wall. The siblings, brother and sister Eusebia and TomásRoldán, overwhelmed with excitement at this haul weighing 45 kilograms with more than 8,000 fused coins and thousands more were strewed around the area, carried the find home.

Madrid’s National Archaeology Museum has finished arduously restoring the coins after 67 years They will now be returned to Palencia in2019.

According to Francisco Javier Pérez Rodríguez, the director of the Palencia Museum, the thousands of silver and copper coins, acquired during the reign of Roman emperors and empresses, are now ready to be put on permanent display.

Instability in Spain at the time, said by experts, this was the reason why the original owner of the treasure had stashed the cauldron of coins around 270 AD.

The coins have the names of 18 emperors, empresses and their heirs. This showing a map of power through the time and political instability of the empire.

Technological advances over time has allowed the coins to be freed and the thousands of silver and copper coins are now ready to be put on permanent display in Palencia.

Some of the older coins date back to around 240 AD and the newest to 269 AD. The majority were minted in Rome with the remaining minted as far as Lyon, Antakya and Milan. Almost all were made during the reign of the Roman Emperor Gallienus, who ruled between 253 and 263 AD.

The emperor Gallienus ruled during one of most turbulen periods quelling many rebellious outbreaks but subsequently, he was assassinated.

Testing over the years has helped understand Roman techniques for making the coins and the variation of the silver content in these types of pieces. For instance, Antoninus coins, named after the ruling Emperor Marcus Aurelius, were initially made from silver. But as the years passed, they began to lose value because they were made with less silver and more copper and tin.

Once the exhibition at the National Archaeology Museum, where the coins are currently displayed, closes on January 13, the treasure will be permanently moved back to Palencia Museum. “All security measures will be taken,” assures Pérez Rodríguez.


The restored cauldron with more than 8,000 coins at theNational Archaeology Museum. Víctor Sainz

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