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Two Roman coins found on Gotska Sandön

Södertörn University is conducting an archaeological project on Gotska Sandön, an island protected by national park status, in cooperation with Campus Gotland and the Gotland Museum. The project started in 2020 and, in March 2023, finds were made that are special in the context of Sandön – two Roman denarii, silver coins from the time of Trajan (98-117 CE) and Antoninus Pius (161 CE).


Mynt från Trajanus och Antonius Pius.

“These are exciting finds that raise several questions,” says Johan Rönnby, professor of marine archaeology at Södertörn University.

Are these items from a shipwreck, spread on the beach? There are also many hearths and remnants of fireplaces along Sandön’s coastline, could the Roman coins instead somehow be associated with these activities? Are these the remains of settlements on the island, or do they have links to relatively large-scale ancient product of seal oil? Research that may provide answers to some of these questions is planned for 2023.

Reports that lighthouse keeper Hjalmar Söderberg had found a Roman coin on the island had previously encountered scepticism.

“Finds of Roman silver coins are not unusual on Gotland, but they are on Gotska Sandön. This find is interesting because of its location,” adds Daniel Langhammer, officer at the County Administrative Board of Gotland.

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