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Builder unearths vast treasure trove of 22,000 Roman coins worth up to £100,000 – then spends three nights sleeping on site to guard his hoard

Laurence Egerton, 51, made the discovery as he explored land near Seaton, in East Devon – and he was so concerned someone would steal it, he camped out for three nights while archaeologists excavated the site.

Dubbed Seaton Down Hoard, the collection of 22,000 copper-alloy coins is thought to have been buried by a private individual or soldier for safe keeping, but was never recovered. 

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The trove of 22,000 Roman coins (pictured) was found by Laurence Egerton in East Devon. Dubbed Seaton Down Hoard, it was declared treasure at a Devon Coroner’s Inquest earlier this month. This means it is eligible for acquisition by a museum, once it has been valued by the Treasure Valuation Committee

In addition to being one of the largest hoards – behind the Frome Hoard of 52,503 found in 2010, and a hoard of 22,703 found in Nether Compton in Dorset in 1989 – Mr Egerton’s discovery is also one of the best preserved 4th century collections to be dug up.