A TEAM of metal detectorists discovered nearly 270 iron age coins on the outskirts of Romsey.

Christopher ‘Kit’ Layman from Lymington was searching in the parish of Nursling and Rownhams with two friends back in January last year.

The trio came across a total of 269 coins, with 173 in the first discovery, 88 in the second, and the final eight later on.

During an inquest, he said: “That kind of history wasn’t known to us.

“Retrieving the coins was rather complicated and messy. It was pouring with rain – it was incredibly wet and muddy.

“Having said that, they weren’t particularly deep into the ground. There was no container holding them all together, though.”

The precise location of the find was revealed in the inquest.

A report from an expert at the British Museum states that a large number of the coins were made in the south-western region of the country, but others came from other places all over Britain.

Senior coroner Grahame Short declared the coins as treasure.

They will now go for valuation at the British Museum.

It is unknown where they will go following the valuation.

The coins were likely to have been used for waterborne trade across the Channel.

Although many people view the Iron Age as a primitive time, there is growing evidence to suggest the south of England was quite a wealthy and prosperous area.

Rich tribal chieftains had money to buy wines and jewellery. Coins from the period, which began in Britain around 800BC, are mostly discovered in the ‘modern counties’, such as Hampshire and Dorset.

As the name implies, the Iron Age saw the gradual introduction of iron working technology, although the general adoption of iron artefacts did not become widespread until after 500BC.

As the Iron Age progressed, regional groupings emerged, reflected in styles of pottery, metal objects and settlement types.