Builder unearths vast treasure trove of 22,000 Roman coins worth up to £100,000 – then spends three nights sleeping on site to guard his hoard

An amateur metal detectorist has unearthed one of the largest hoards of Roman coins ever found in Britain.

Laurence Egerton, 51, made the discovery as he explored land near Seaton, in East Devon – and he was so concerned someone would steal it, he camped out for three nights while archaeologists excavated the site.

Dubbed Seaton Down Hoard, the collection of 22,000 copper-alloy coins is thought to have been buried by a private individual or soldier for safe keeping, but was never recovered.

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The trove of 22,000 Roman coins (pictured) was found by Laurence Egerton in East Devon. Dubbed Seaton Down Hoard, it was declared treasure at a Devon Coroner’s Inquest earlier this month. This means it is eligible for acquisition by a museum, once it has been valued by the Treasure Valuation Committee

In addition to being one of the largest hoards – behind the Frome Hoard of 52,503 found in 2010, and a hoard of 22,703 found in Nether Compton in Dorset in 1989 – Mr Egerton’s discovery is also one of the best preserved 4th century collections to be dug up.

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