In 1713 a Eight gold medals were acquired by the inspector of medals Roman Coins that were buried in Transylvania. Experts believed them for centuries. to be forgeries — and poorly made ones, at that.

The coins displayed the image of an unknown leader, and had characteristics that were distinct from other coins in the mid-third centuries. Roman coins. Researchers have now reexamined the coins. a According to University of Glasgow, they could be genuine.

The design on the coin is not what you would expect. for Sponsian was the only person to be able to depict the time period. to history. These coins also included references to “bungled legends and historically mixed motifs,” experts said.

Published research in the journal on Wednesday PLOS ONE posited that the coins — and Sponsian, the man depicted — deserved another look.

The researchers used modern imaging technology to discover the answers. “deep micro-abrasion patterns” That was. “typically associated with coins that were in circulation for an extensive period of time.” The researchers also analyzed earthen deposits and found evidence that the coins were buried. for a It was a long time before the body was exhumed.

Also, the coins can be “uncharacteristic” The researchers stated that they knew of the forgeries around the time they were discovered.

“If the coins proved to be fakes, they would make a particularly interesting case study in antiquarian forgery,” Researchers wrote. “If authentic, they would be of clear historical interest.”

Sponsian was not an obvious choice to The research team found that forgers were still around centuries later. The research team hoped to bring him back in focus. a He is a minor historical figure. He is shown wearing a cape on the coin. a Crowns like the ones worn by emperors

“Nothing can be known about him for certain, but the coins themselves, together with the provenance recorded by Heraeus, provide clues as to his possible place in history,” Reference was written by researchers to Sponsian, Carl Gustav Heraeus Heraeus, an inspector for medals, was it? for The Vienna Imperial Collection documented the 1713 acquisition of the coins.

Sponsian was a term used by early writers. a Historical usurper, who could have made a Bid for Power during civil wars that ended Philip’s reign. Researchers now believe Sponsian might have been a Commanding officer a province during a Period of military strife.

“Our evidence suggests he ruled Roman Dacia, an isolated gold mining outpost, at a time when the empire was beset by civil wars and the borderlands were overrun by plundering invaders,” Paul N. Pearson was the paper’s lead author. a statement.

Researchers said that a Vienna fraudster used to deceive collectors as a way of getting their money in the 18th century when the coins were found today in Transylvania.

In the past, forgers used artificial aging methods like abrasion. to Artifacts such as coins appear older because of this. Researchers led by Dr. Pearson, an earth sciences professor from the University College London, to investigate superficial scratches and earthen deposits. to They discovered that the treatment appeared natural, and so they agreed to it. to Believe the coins are authentic.

“We suggest that the Sponsian series coinage was used to pay senior soldiers and officials in gold and silver by weight and then traded down at a high premium for regular imperial coins that were already circulating in the province from before the time of crisis,” According to the research paper.

Despite the researchers’ conclusions, some experts saw holes in the findings.

In her Times Literary Supplement Mary Beard, column a Professor of classics, University of Cambridge to the coins’ composition among factors that raised questions about their authenticity. “There is still very powerful evidence that they are fakes,” She wrote.