In the middle of a torrential storm, the siblings Eusebia and Tomás Roldán traveled up an old path that connected the tiny villages of Valsadornín and Gramedo in Palencia, in northwestern Spain. The rain, which rushed down that wet morning on August 19, 1937, began to reveal an object that looked like an old cauldron at the foot of a wall. Intrigued, the brother and sister moved closer and pulled at its handles with all their strength. It was a copper cauldron, weighing 45 kilograms. Inside there were more than 8,000 fused coins and thousands more were scattered around it. The Roldans had discovered what would from then on be known as the treasure of Valsadornín.
After 67 years, Madrid’s National Archaeology Museum has finished restoring the coins and will return them to Palencia authorities in 2019. According to the director of the Palencia Museum, Francisco Javier Pérez Rodríguez, the thousands of silver and copper coins, acquired during the reign of 18 Roman emperors and empresses, are now ready to be put on permanent display.
Experts agree that the owner of the cauldron hid the treasure due to the instability the Spanish peninsula was experiencing around 270 AD. A study by historian Valentina Calleja highlights that the Spanish-Roman era between 260 and 280 AD was subject to various upheavals from “external and internal causes.” It’s possible the owner hid the treasure with the aim of recovering it once the danger had passed, but never returned.