Youngsters from Moorlands Junior School and gladiators – old and new – helped launch an appeal to raise money towards bringing one of the most important hoards of silver Roman coins ever found in Britain – back to Bath.
Nearly 18,000 coins – carefully hidden in eight bags, were found in a pit beneath a Roman building – discovered just 150 metres from the Roman Baths – back in 2007.
They have now been separated, conserved and cleaned at the British Museum. The Roman Baths is raising £60,000 to purchase and display the hoard for everyone to see. The coins could be back in Bath by the end of next year.
Today – alongside the Roman Baths complex fifty Year 3 youngsters enjoyed playing Roman games alongside costumed characters from the age of Aquae Sulis and Olly Woodburn and Ben Williams – complete with laurels – from Bath Rugby Club.
Then the Chairman of Bath and North East Somerset, Cllr Neil Butters, officially launched the appeal.
It is hoped there will also be a South West roadshow in which a mobile display will tour towns and villages across the region. There will be drop-in days at the Roman Baths and family story-telling activities using the hoard as inspiration.
Applications will also be made to Heritage Lottery and other bodies to help pay for the hoard.
I asked Stephen Clews, the Manager of the Roman Baths and Pump Room, why it was so important the coins came back to Bath.