MORE than 500 coins from the third century AD have been classed as treasure after being found in a field near Leominster.

The 518 Roman coins were found by metal detector enthusiasts Jeremy Daw and Martin Fulloway in the Kimbolton area in July 2013 but the news has only just been made public by the British Museum.

The mixed copper coins range in date from AD 260-c290 and were removed in a block of soil, which was x-rayed and showed three defined bags which has been put inside a leather satchel.

Speaking about the discovery Mr Daw said: “My brain said it is a hoard of Roman coins- my heart took a few seconds to catch up with my brain. We were really happy. Martin was running around in circles for a few minutes.

“I imagine the feeling is like if you are playing football and you score the winning goal.

“It is not so much the value of it- we knew it was bronze and copper- we are not looking at gold and copper or money to retire on.

“The most magical part for us is being able to touch this and look at it- the first person for 1,700 years that has touched that object.”

Paramedics Mr Daw, from Credenhill, and Mr Fulloway, from Leominster, started metal detecting ten years ago and said this is the biggest hoard they have found.

The hoard was recently declared treasure by Mark Bricknell, Herefordshire Coroner, as there were more than ten bronze coins and more than 300 years old.

The collection is broadly similar to the many Romano-British coin hoards buried in the aftermath of the breakaway ‘Gallic Empire’.

In addition there are eight coins of the ‘Britannic Empire’ initiated by Carausius (AD 286-93).

Peter Reavill, finds liaison officer for the Herefordshire and Shropshire, said: "Interestingly dried leaves were found as packing within the satchel and cloth bags, something which is unique within the Romano-British coin hoarding tradition.

"The function of the leaves is unknown – they may represent a form of bubble wrap to prevent the coins chinking or they could be aromatic."

The coins will be valued by the DCMS treasure valuation committee based at the British Museum which will be shared with the landowner, finder and museums.

The museum will be given several months to raise the cost - which is passed to the finder and landowner as an ex-gratia payment (gift from HM Government).

Leominster Museum and Hereford Museum have expressed an interest in acquiring this hoard jointly for display in Leominster.