From the Evening Star:

FOR nearly 2,000 years a treasure trove of Roman coins lay hidden just below the surface of an Ipswich field.

But today around 1,000 coins are being examined at the British Museum after being unearthed by two metal detecting enthusiasts.

After Suffolk had thundered to the sound of the Roman legions, the coins lay undisturbed through two world wars, invasions of the Saxons and Vikings and the reigns of numerous kings and queens.

And all it took to unearth them was two men from Chantry with a metal detector.

Rick Talman and Chris Roper could not believe their eyes when they uncovered more than one thousand of the bronze and silver coins in a field just outside the town.

For security purposes the location where the treasure trove was discovered is being kept secret.

Mr Talman, 40, of Coltsfoot Road was detecting alone when he came across the first find.

He said: "When I found the start of them I was just messing about really.

"We had done three corners of the field and I went to do the fourth and stumbled over them - they were right on the top.

"I found 82 on the first day and they were just scattered everywhere.

"I was just stunned but because I was on my own I couldn't really do anything. If Chris had been there I would probably have run round the field a few times."

When he realised the extent of the find Mr Talman contacted his brother-in-law Chris Roper.

Mr Roper, 41, of Lavender Hill, said: "I managed to get the next day off work and we went back and found about 670 altogether.

"We have been doing this for about ten years and have found a few coins and brooches before but nothing on this scale.

"We took it up as a hobby and because of an interest in history."

After another day's digging the men had found a total of 1,013 coins believed to date back to the third century, a time of great unrest.

Mr Talman added: "We had to inform the Suffolk Archaeology Unit. They think they were buried in a case and not a pot because there are nails everywhere and no pottery."

Mr Roper said: "They were sent on to the British Museum to be recorded, they go to the coroner first and he sends them on. They are going to stabilise them to stop them deteriorating and if no museums are interested we will get them back. Otherwise they will pay the market value for them."

The value of the coins is not known but Mr Roper said they are unlikely to reach a high value as they are not particularly rare.