King recalled the signal from the metal-detector while they were out field-walking. They found themselves digging up coins, some of which were stuck together: “Straight away we knew it was a hoard.” The excavation is being conducted by DigVentures, founded by archaeologists in 2012 to fill the gap left by severe cuts to research archaeology by universities and local authorities.Casswell praised King and his friends, who acted responsibly in reporting their discovery to the Portable Antiquities Scheme, which encourages the recording of archaeological objects found by members of the public. A coroner will decide ownership of treasures such as these silver coins.Asked about the rarity of such a Roman settlement in Britain, he said that, while there are examples from the 3rd and 4th centuries, “it is rare to find one of such an early date”. The evidence at this site includes post-holes and foundation trenches, with the remnants of stone walls that once stood there. A hoard of 2,000-year-old silver Roman coins has been unearthed by three metal-detecting friends in Yorkshire.Such a find would be thrilling enough, but it has also led to a further significant discovery – evidence of a high-status Roman settlement, to the excitement of archaeologists, The Telegraph can reveal.The hoard was unearthed by Paul King, a semi-retired logistics manager, and his friends Robert Hamer and Robin Siddle.Weather permitting, they go out most weekends, with a shared passion for learning about the past, rather than hunting for treasure. –– ADVERTISEMENT ––Criss-crossing nine counties over many years, they have discovered various gems, including a medieval pilgrim’s badge, but nothing quite as significant as their Roman hoard of 18 silver coins.Although they discovered it in 2015, it has been kept secret until now, to enable archaeologists to explore the site first. Last week, two of the friends were working alongside archaeologists as yet more silver coins were uncovered, with hundreds of Roman pottery sherds and a tiny brooch, found on one of three neonatal burials. The excavation is being conducted by DigVentures, founded by archaeologists in 2012 The hoard was unearthed by Paul King, a semi-retired logistics manager, and his friends Robert Hamer and Robin Siddle Roman Denarius of Titus dating from 79-81 ADCredit: Charlotte Graham King used to work as a logistics manager, looking after fleets of vehicles and a warehouse. He developed a passion for metal-detecting many years ago, teaching himself by reading books on history and archaeology: “They call us detectologists… a blend between archaeologists and detectorists because we’re quite knowledgeable.” He said that they have only scratched the surface of the site, whose discovery is “very exciting and important”, partly because it is one of the earliest Roman settlements to have been found. “We have discovered evidence for… a high-status site.” He added that the evidence suggests one or two villas, or “a pretty posh part of a settlement”: “We have a team of people field-walking and metal-detecting throughout the project. We’ve been surveying some of the other fields. That’s where we found a lot of [mosaic] tesserae in quite significant quantities.”He noted that plenty of pottery has been found at other Roman sites, but that it is often “bog-standard, run-of-the-mill stuff”.Examples found at this site are very different, he added: “Someone forked out quite a bit of money for it… There are decorated bowls and amphorae, which would have transported olive oil and wine from the Mediterranean. Lots of really fine pottery.” He added: “You just want to know about things. How did people live? What did they do? When you pick up that Roman coin out of the ground, after it’s been there for 2,000 years, it still puts tingles up my spine that the last person to touch that coin was a Roman… It’s fascinating.” Lisa Westcott Wilkins of DigVentures asked the Sunday Telegraph not to identify the site’s location because of the danger of night-hawkers. There is now a high level of surveillance on the site. The project is partly funded by a £61,100-grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. An important part of DigVentures’ work is accessibility and they will present the finds at various public events. They are also involving the public through their DigNation festival, taking place in September on Lindisfarne, with lectures and the chance to experience excavations, among other events. All the finds so far date from the 1st century, he said: “There’s a lot of silver coins coming out, and they all date to the time of the emperor Vespasian [AD 69–79], when the Romans finally marched north and established a centre at York.” Chris Casswell, who is heading the excavation, said: “It’s a beautiful little brooch… The kind of size to keep a cloak around a baby. It’s so small and delicate, still completely intact.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.