A HOARD of 3,335 Roman coins unearthed by a bulldozer driver could be heading for Taunton - if a museum can raise almost £27,000.

The South West Heritage Trust has launched a campaign to secure the Yeovil hoard so it can be displayed at the Museum of Somerset

The silver coins dating from the second and third centuries AD - 165 are denarii and the rest are radiates - were discovered in March 2013 during groundworks on a new artificial grass pitch at Yeovil Recreation Centre.

The hoard was spotted by bulldozer driver Mark Copsey, who was carrying out the work on behalf of South Somerset District Council.

In addition, there are four large brass coins of a denomination known as a sestertius.

A total of 40 emperors and empresses are represented by their portraits on the coins, together with a series of exotic animals such as elephants, hippos and lions.

The hoard was buried in a small pit which lay on the edge of a previously unrecognised Romano-British settlement, probably around AD 269-271.

It was declared treasure at an inquest and in May The Treasure Valuation Committee recommended a valuation of £53,500.

South Somerset District Council has waived its right as landowner to half the value of the reward, while the Friends of the Museum of Somerset have donated £1,000 towards buying the coins.

Steve Minnitt, head of museums for the South West Heritage Trust, said: “The Yeovil hoard is a significant find.

"We would be delighted to see it end up in the county museum where it will be seen and enjoyed by thousands of people and help to tell the story of Roman Somerset.

"We would also like to hold an event in Yeovil exploring Roman treasures from south Somerset, when some of the coins could be displayed.”

Cllr Sylvia Seal, portfolio holder for leisure and culture at South Somerset District Council, said: “It would be fantastic if the hoard of Roman coins found on our site at Yeovil Recreation Centre were to end up in a local museum for many people to enjoy.

"We are extremely supportive of the South West Heritage Trust’s plans to house the coins locally in Somerset and feel that by waiving our rights as the land owner to half the value of the reward, we are doing the right thing in retaining them at the Museum of Somerset.”

To secure the hoard, grant funding applications are underway to raise the £26,750 needed.

As part of this the trust needs to raise £4,000 through local donations by October.

For more information about supporting the campaign to acquire the Yeovil hoard, contact Steve Minnitt on 01823-347440 or e-mail steve.minnitt@swheritage.org.uk