Ancient Jar of Gold Coins Found Under Theater
September 11, 2018 2:29 PM   Subscribe

Archaeologists unearthed a pot of gold coins dating back to the 5th century AD under an abandoned theater near Milan, Italy. "The find site is just a few feet away from the forum of the Roman city where merchants, banks and temples would have done brisk cash business. It was also an elite residential neighborhood, however, so it’s not out of the question that a private individual rolled up his own wealth."
posted by grobertson (14 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
"There's always money in the banana stand theater."
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:38 PM on September 11 [15 favorites]


Oh, hey, that's where I left those! Thanks, archaeologists! I'll be over to pick them up shortly.
posted by SansPoint at 3:39 PM on September 11 [10 favorites]


Didn't someone say that ~90% of all the gold mined in history is accounted for? Great find.
posted by Sphinx at 3:49 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


The figure I remember, linked from Metafilter I'm fairly certain, is that all the gold mined in history would fit into an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
posted by jamjam at 3:56 PM on September 11 [5 favorites]


Watch out for the Italian leprechaun guarding his pot of gold.
posted by mermayd at 3:56 PM on September 11 [5 favorites]


This is how you piss off a rainbow.
posted by darkstar at 4:34 PM on September 11 [5 favorites]


FTA: ... engraved with the visages of emperors Honorius, Valentinian III, Leon I, Antonio, and Libio Severo

Emperor... Antonio?

Unlikely to be Antoninus Pius, so do they mean Anthemius? Or was this some Praetorian Guardsman who engaged in a round of surreptitious stabbery and declared himself Imperator for the better part of an afternoon before being swiftly demoted to manning a lamppost on the Appian Way?
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 7:08 PM on September 11 [3 favorites]


Or likely it was the Antoninianus coin, which I have just learned about.
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 7:11 PM on September 11 [2 favorites]


all the gold mined in history would fit into an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

3.27 pools, according to Forbes.
posted by axiom at 8:53 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


I had read that all the world’s mined gold would create a solid forty-foot cube. It seems awfully small. Every wedding ring? Every plated pendant? Every gold-leaf cake?

Discoveries of hoards are wonderful to me, but sad in a way that grave goods never are. At least when people bury jewelry with loved ones, they don’t intend to come back for it. But someone missed this. Maybe whoever buried it was murdered. Maybe he’d done the murdering. Maybe families fought over the missing inheritance and never spoke again. Who could say?
posted by Countess Elena at 9:08 PM on September 11 [4 favorites]


According to Wikipedia, "75% of the presently accounted for gold has been extracted since 1910. It has been estimated that the currently known amount of gold internationally would form a single cube 20 m (66 ft) on a side (equivalent to 8,000 m3)." Gold is extremely malleable--it can be beaten so thin that it's translucent--and so all those gold-leaf cakes and bottles of Goldschläger should require very little gold, and, of course, it should all be completely recoverable, with some patience and a strong stomach.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:31 PM on September 11 [4 favorites]


Vern had been trying to find those pennies for nine months. Nine months, man. You didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
posted by duffell at 5:24 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


FTA: ... engraved with the visages of emperors Honorius, Valentinian III, Leon I, Antonio, and Libio Severo

Something of a first here- a copy editor letting pass nomenclature coming from Latin, English, French, and Italian.

Which still leaves us with Antonio. Since we have a mix of western and eastern emperors, given the time period, chances are the mystery man is either Avitus or Anthemius or, at a stretch, Arcadius. Disgraceful editing, in any event, originating from CNN of all places, and repeated by NPR. (Others, I see, have prudently left out the names.)
posted by BWA at 5:56 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


Cool. I've lived in Como for a while, it's one of those towns where you still have an intact Roman grid, and thus can feel the scale and size of antiquity. I like that.
posted by mumimor at 10:59 AM on September 12 [1 favorite]


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