Amateur free divers find gold coins dating to the fall of the Roman Empire in the Bahia de Portitxol, Xàbia
Two amateur divers swimming along the Spanish coast have discovered a huge hoard of 1,500-year-old gold coins, one of the largest on record dating to the Roman Empire.
The divers, brothers-in-law Luis Lens Pardo and César Gimeno Alcalá, discovered the gold stash while vacationing with their families in Xàbia, a coastal Mediterranean town and tourist hotspot. The duo rented snorkeling equipment so they could go freediving with the goal of picking up trash to beautify the area, but they found something far richer when Lens Pardo noticed the glimmer of a coin at the bottom of Portitxol Bay on Aug. 23, El País reported.
When he went to investigate, he found that the coin "was in a small hole, like a bottleneck," Lens Pardo told El País in Spanish. After cleaning the coin, Lens Pardo saw that it had "an ancient image, like a Greek or Roman face." Intrigued, Lens Pardo and Gimeno Alcalá returned, freediving to the hole with a Swiss Army knife and using its corkscrew to unearth a total of eight coins.
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The find was later excavated by official teams of divers and the 53 gold coins they found will eventually be on display at the Soler Blasco Museum