A HOARD of hundreds of Roman coins found by a Cotswold farmer when he went metal detecting on his land has been declared treasure by a coroner.

A Tetbury farmer unearthed the hoard in September 2010. The coins, many inside a burial urn, are now being examined by experts at the British museum to determine their value.

The Corinium Museum in Cirencester is now hoping to acquire it and the farmer stands to receive a payment of whatever the experts say it is worth.

Dr. Eleanor Ghey, Project Curator for Roman coin hoards at the British Museum, said: “The Corinium Museum in Cirencester hopes to acquire the hoard in its entirety.

“Because of this future acquistion, only a limited sample of coins were studied at the British Museum in order to make an assessment for the inquest.

"The significance of the hoard lies in the fact that it appears to have been deposited in the context of a grave rather than being an isolated find.

“ Hoards are rarely found as grave goods and therefore it would be a very interesting acquisition for Corinium Museum to make,” she added.

A hearing before Deputy Gloucestershire Coroner David Dooley was told that the farmer found a pot packed with Romano British coins, broken pottery, and a funeral urn.

After he uncovered the top of the first vessel he called in archaeologists to excavate the site.

They then found a large damaged bronze pot, a smaller decorated pot containing a hoard of coins and three bags of broken pottery.

There was a bag of coins in a smaller vessel and shards of pottery making up about a third of another vessel.

Bags of coins were found below the plough layer in the same area, and some coins were found within the plough layer.

The hoard is thought to have been a funerary offering and the neck of the vessel was very narrow. It would have been necessary to break it to examine the contents.

The farmer has thought of building a small museum on his property to display the hoard, the inquest was told.

Richard Abdy, coin expert at the British Museum, said all but five of the coins were fused together within the pottery vessel and within a second urn.

The funerary urn was of a type made in the Severn valley, part of a long-lived industry between the first and fourth centuries.

The coins were dated between AD260 and 280, a time of great political upheaval in the roman world, with a plethora of rulers whose heads all appeared on coins.

There is speculation that the site may have been used as a cemetery in the Roman period.

Mr Dooley said the hoard was clearly treasure under the Treasure Act, 1996.

He said: "It will now go before the British Museum finds committee to see if there is any interest in retaining it for a museum.

"If there is public interest, the committee will also rule on the amount of compensation that should be paid to [the farmer]," he added.