8-year-old playing in school sandbox stumbles on 1,800-year-old treasure in Germany

While playing in a sandbox in Germany, an 8-year-old boy spotted a small silver object. Intrigued, he kept it. Only later did archaeologists realize he’d stumbled on an ancient Roman treasure.

The boy, identified only as Bjarne, was playing at an elementary school sandbox in Bremen in August 2022 when he spotted the silver item, the Bremen Senator for Culture said in an Aug. 11 news release.

Not recognizing exactly what he’d found, Bjarne took the silver object home, the Austria Press Agency said in an Aug. 8 news release. Later, he brought the object to archaeologists — who identified it as a 1,800-year-old coin.

The coin was an ancient Roman denarius made in the 2nd century, Bremen state archaeologist Uta Halle told cultural authorities. It weighs less than an ounce because it was minted during a time of inflation when coins were made with significantly smaller amounts of silver.

Photos show the front and back of the small coin. It has a pattern around the edge and a central figure. The coin is worn, making it difficult to see the details of the design.

The ancient Roman coin found in Bremen.
The ancient Roman coin found in Bremen.

Only two similar ancient Roman coins have been found in Bremen, Halle said in the release.

It’s unclear how the coin ended up in Bremen, an area that was not part of the ancient Roman Empire. The coin could have come through trade, been carried by the river or brought as a souvenir, cultural officials said.

Video from the German TV station Brisant shows now 9-year-old Bjarne holding the artifact during a news conference.

Bjarne holds the ancient Roman coin during a news conference.
Bjarne holds the ancient Roman coin during a news conference.

Halle hopes the coin will soon be exhibited at the Focke Museum in Bremen, city officials said. Bremen is about 215 miles northwest of Berlin.

Google Translate was used to translate the news releases from the Bremen Senator for Culture and the Austria Press Agency as well as Brisant’s Facebook video.

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