Hiker sees something sparkle on the trail, only to discover Roman coins buried over 2,000 years ago

A man in Italy hiked through the Livorno woods in a section that had recently been cleared, and noticed something shiny on the ground between the leaves. Taking a better look, he discovered a few half-buried Roman coins and decided to call archaeological experts to investigate. Turns out the silver coins, mostly still in good shape, are around 2,000 year old, and the archaeologists uncovered 175 of them.

From Miami Herald:

Most of the coins were found grouped together with fragments of a container, the outlet reported. A few coins were found scattered in the area. No other artifacts were uncovered.

"The coins have definitely been hidden," Lorella Alderighi, the archaeologist who investigated the find, told LiveScience. "They constituted a 'treasure' or piggy bank. The easiest way to hide valuables was to bury them underground, away from homes where no one could find them."

The oldest coins were from about 157 B.C., with the newest from 82 B.C., the Hungarian Numismatic Society said in a Facebook post.

The newest coins correspond with "a very turbulent historical period" for the ancient Roman empire, Alderighi told LiveScience. The empire was in the middle of its first large-scale civil war.

"These coins may have been the savings of a soldier returning home [during] military service," Alderighi said.

Alternatively, the coins could have been hidden by a wealthy merchant, another historian told LiveScience.

The ancient coins are now headed to the Museum of Natural History of the Mediterranean, where they will soon be displayed.