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A treasure hunter who unearthed a 2,000-year-old Roman ingot on a farm is now set to sell it for 60,000 ($74,000).

Jason Baker found the 2ft long lead bar using his metal detector on a routine rally in the Mendip Hills near Wells, Somerset, earlier this year.

The stunning 85lb (38kg) ingot, which is inscribed with the name of co-emperor Marcus Aurelius Armeniacus and dates to 164AD, was not regarded as treasure as it is made of lead instead of gold or silver.

Bricklayer, 31, to sell 'very rare' 2,000-year-old lead Roman ingot he found on a Somerset farm for 60,000


A builder uncovered the Roman ingot in
a field in Somerset earlier this year
The 2 ft lead bar will be sold at auction in London at the end of the month

It is inscribed with the name of emperor Marcus Aurelius Armeniacus

By Ryan O'Hare for MailOnline and Bournemouth News And Picture Service
16 November 2016
Daily Mail

A treasure hunter who unearthed a 2,000-year-old Roman ingot on a farm is now set to sell it for 60,000 ($74,000).

Jason Baker found the 2ft long lead bar using his metal detector on a routine rally in the Mendip Hills near Wells, Somerset, earlier this year.

The stunning 85lb (38kg) ingot, which is inscribed with the name of co-emperor Marcus Aurelius Armeniacus and dates to 164AD, was not regarded as treasure as it is made of lead instead of gold or silver.


Jason Baker found the 2 ft long lead bar using his metal detector on a routine rally in the Mendip Hills near Wells, Somerset, earlier this year

That meant it was 'finders keepers' for the 31-year-old, who will sell the 'very rare' item at auction later this month.

Mr Baker, a bricklayer from Plymouth, Devon, said he intends to split the proceeds with a metal detector friend who was with him on the search as well as the land owner but hopes to buy his council flat with his share.

He said: 'I was looking for coins when my machine started going crazy. It was the loudest signal I have ever heard.

'I started digging and found it about three feet underground. I didn't have a clue what it was until I went over to everyone else and someone said, 'you've got something special there, mate'.


When the Romans invaded Britain 2000 years ago they mined lead, cast it into big blocks, put the emperor's name on it and sent it back to Rome as a building material. The inscription reads "[Property of] the Emperors the two Augusti Antoninus Armeniacus (Marcus Aurelius) [and] Antoninus Verus Armeniacus (Lucius Verus). "

Everyone started taking pictures of it. It was unbelievable.'

He added: 'I have spoken to the farmer whose land we were on and have agreed to split the money I make from it with him.

'I will also be sharing the money with a friend of mine who taught me everything I know about metal detecting.

'I'm currently living in a council flat and I'm hoping that after the auction I'll have enough money to buy it outright.'

When the Romans invaded Britain 2000 years ago they mined lead, cast it into big blocks, put the emperor's name on it and sent it back to Rome as a building material.

This block, extracted from a popular source of lead in the Mendip Hills, south of Bristol, somehow became lost and has been encased with earth ever since.

Siobhan Quin, an antique specialist at auctioneer Bonhams, which is selling the item, said: 'It's very unusual to find something that's so old and rare in such extraordinary circumstances.


Archaeologists believe the lead for the ingot was mined in the Mendip Hills, south of Bristol


The lead block, extracted from a popular source of lead in the Mendip Hills, south of Bristol, somehow became lost and has been encased with earth ever since

'What's particularly impressive is that that even though it has been underground for over 2,000 years the inscriptions are amazingly crisp.

'There are no records of another example in such original condition. This is the best we have ever seen.

She added: 'There is no question that this is a niche market but anything with an inscription of a Roman emperor is attractive to collectors.

'It's of museum quality I would like to think it could end up on show somewhere.'

Four ingots bearing the same inscriptions have been discovered before, all of them found within 18 miles of this one.

The first two were found in the 16th and 18th century but have since been lost while the third fragmented article is on display at the Museum of Somerset in Taunton.

The most recent detection is the only known example in complete condition.

It will be sold in London in November 30.

ROMAN EMPEROR MARCUS AURELIUS ARMENIACUS



Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius

Engraved into the face of the 2 ft lead ingot - which would have been shipped back to Rome - is the name of the co-emperor at the time, Marcus Aurelius.

Marcus Aurelius was co-emperor of the Roman Empire from 161AD to 169AD along with with adoptive brother Lucius Verus, and then sole emperor from 169AD upon Verus's death until 180AD.

He gained the 'Armeniacus' suffix after a successful battle campaign in Armenia in 163.

Hailing from the Iberian peninsula, Aurelius succeeded Antonius Pius as emperor.

His reign over the British outpost followed Hadrian, who built his wall close to the modern day border with Scotland in 122AD, to 'separate Romans from Barbarians'.

During Marcus Aurelius' rule, one of the major events was the five-year war with the Parthians, a warrior culture from Asia who defeated a Roman army before invading Syria.

Bronze busts of the emperor's head have been uncovered in Britain, with one example found in Brackley, Northamptonshire.


SNAPSHOTS OF ROMAN LIFE IN LONDON



Londinium

A haul of wooden tablets uncovered in central London earlier this year have provided new insights into the daily lives of Romans living in 1st century London.

Many of the wooden tablets, excellently preserved in the mud of a buried river, date back close to the founding of Londinium - the Roman settlement established in 43 AD on the River Thames in what is now the City of London.



Among the preserved inscriptions are financial records, instructions for servants and more, which constitute some of the earliest examples of handwriting in Britain.


Video shows how London evolved over the centuries:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NB5Oz9b84jM

Read more: Devon bricklayer to sell 'very rare' 2,000-year-old lead Roman ingot for 60,000 | Daily Mail Online
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Last edited by Blackleaf; Nov 17th, 2016 at 07:46 AM..