WICKHAM MARKET, England, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- An unprecedented number of ancient gold coins -- 824 -- have been found buried near Wickham Market in England, a coin expert says.
The gold coins -- called staters, each weighing 5 grams, or about .18 ounces -- were discovered in a field by a man using a metal detector, The Independent reported Saturday. They were in a plain piece of pottery in what may have been a religious compound.
Most of the coins were minted between 40 B.C. and A.D. 15 by royal predecessors of Boudicca, a warrior queen of the Iceni tribe who revolted against Rome in A.D. 60, the British newspaper said. It's speculated they may have been buried as a religious offering at a time of political upheaval or natural disaster.
"The hoard is absolutely unique," said Ian Leins, the British Museum's curator of Iron Age coins. "It is the largest hoard of British Iron Age gold coins to be studied in its entirety."
Archaeologists kept the discovery under wraps for months while they dug up the site.