An incredibly rare coin featuring a Roman emperor who reigned for only two months is the latest remarkable discovery made on Britain’s biggest road upgrade.
The ‘radiate’ coin, which depicts the Roman emperor Ulpius Cornelius Laelianus wearing a radiate crown, is only the second of its kind to be discovered on an archaeological dig in England.
It was uncovered by the team of archaeologists working on Highways England’s £1.5billion upgrade of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon.
The find is significant because the usurper Laelianus ruled a breakaway empire from Rome for a short spell in the Third Century, with evidence of his reign very rare. It's likely that the coin did not arrive in Britain from the continent until after the emperor had died.
The coin was discovered in the ditch of a small Roman farmstead unearthed on the project and the head on it has been identified by a leading coin expert as the ill-fated Emperor Laelianus who usurped the Gallic Empire in 269AD.
Highways England is working with experts from MOLA Headland Infrastructure on the A14.
The A14 project has already yielded some amazing insights into the region's rich history.
An even older coin was found on the project recently, dating back in 57 BC, meaning it was likely minted to help fund the resistance to Julius Caesar. The Gallic War Uniface coin was minted by the Ambiani tribe, who lived around what is now Amiens in the Somme area of modern day France, and exported their currency across The Channel to the Celtic cousins to help resist the Romans.