STROUD Museum in the Park has launched an appeal to buy a hoard of silver Roman coins found near Nailsworth.

The district council needs to raise £450 to keep the nine fourth century coins, which are currently on loan as part of an exhibition entitled Local Treasures - Lost and Found.

David Mullin, SDC’s museum documentation and collections officer, said: "The coins are important to the Stroud district.

"They are evidence of who lived here, the way they lived and what was happening 1600 years ago.

"If they are acquired by the museum they will be here for people today and in the future to enjoy."

The hoard was unearthed at about 12cms deep in a ploughed field near Nailsworth by metal detector user Wayne Jacobs in 2004.

Under the Treasure Act 1996, all gold or silver finds must be reported to the British Museum, where they are identified and valued.

If the artefacts are not of national importance, they must then be offered for purchase to the local museum.

Stroud only has an annual budget of about £100 to buy finds so most of the money must be raised through donations. Rewards are split between the finder and the landowner.

The coins are on display at the museum until Sunday, April 26 alongside other artefacts found in the district and later bought under the law.

To make a donation, put money in the special appeal envelopes at the exhibition or send a cheque payable to ‘SDC Coin Appeal’ to Museum in the Park, Stratford Park, Stroud, GL5 4AF.

FACT FILE THE coins were minted on the Continent towards the end of the Roman Empire, with the earliest dating from 360AD and the latest dating from 383AD.

Mr Mullin believes the original owner of the hoard, which spans the rule of five emperors, almost certainly buried the money due to the unrest of the period.

However, he thinks the person was either killed, displaced or had to move away quickly, so it was not retrieved. Mr Mullin claims the individual probably lived around Nailsworth and would have been a Romanised Briton - a local man who had adopted the Roman way of life.

He believes the individual was not very wealthy because the coins are silver rather than gold.