About 300 Roman-era gold coins were unearthed last week beneath what once was an Italian theater, authorities say.
The rare treasure was found by construction workers building an apartment complex at the previous site of the historic Cressoni Theater in northern Italy, which closed in the 1990s. What appears to be a soapstone vase or jar held the coins, believed to be from 474 B.C.
“More than exceptional, it’s epochal — one of those discoveries that marks the course of history," Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli said during a Monday news conference.
Luca Rinaldi, the local archaeology superintendent, told the Times of London the coins are in remarkable condition "unlike anything else ever found" in the area.
"Sometimes coins that are found are stuck together, but these are all separate. It was like opening a wallet," she told the Times.
Archaeologists are now restoring and studying the coins at a laboratory in Milan, according to the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow Ashley May on Twitter: @AshleyMayTweets