The largest Roman gold hoard ever discovered was the “Trier Gold Hoard.” The discovery, which included 2,500 gold pieces totaling 18.5 kg, was uncovered in 1993 during excavation work, approximately 1,800 years after it was hidden.
The oldest coins were struck on Emperor Nero in the years 63/64 AD, the youngest under Septimius Severus between 193 and 196. – © Thomas Zühmer
The 1993 discovery of the Trier Gold Hoard generated a lot of media attention. Further investigation indicated that it was likely an official treasury and not just someone’s personal money. The treasury had been managed with care, and it had expanded over time. The Hoard was equivalent to about 130 Roman soldiers’ yearly pay. There are a total of 27 emperors, empresses, and members of the imperial family shown on the aurei (gold coins), some of which are still regarded as being unique today.
The earliest coins in the hoard were minted 63 AD. – © Thomas Zühmer
What caused the coins to be buried?
During a civil war in 196 AD, the gold coins were interred in a cellar. When Clodius Albinus named his son Caracalla as the heir apparent rather than Albinus, Septimius Severus’ rule was overthrown. It’s likely that the former hoard manager carried the knowledge of the hidden cache with him to the afterlife.
The hoard was hidden for the first time in 167 AD, probably because of the Antonine Plague. – © Thomas Zühmer
Viewing methods for coins
Currently, the Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier’s coin collection features this one-of-a-kind collection on display. One of Germany’s largest archaeological museums, the state museum has an exhibition that features 12,000 coins in total. The Gold Hoard presentation room offers significant information on the development of the monetary system and how ancient, medieval, and modern money have been produced in addition to archaeological discoveries.
The gold treasure is exhibited in the Rheinisches Landesmuseum. – © Thomas Zühmer