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Gardener Digging a Ditch Strikes Silver - 20,000 Coins

October 30, 1987

WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ A man digging a drainage ditch in his garden unearthed a treasure trove of 20,000 silver coins from the 11th century, a museum official said Thursday.

Leszek Lenarczyk, director of the Glogow Museum and Archaeological Center, said in an interview that it was impossible to estimate how much the coins were worth, but he said they have ″an extremely high historical value.″

The man who found the treasure, a worker at a food processing cooperative who has asked to remain anonymous, will receive a reward at a ceremony in December, Lenarczyk said.

The museum director said the amount of the reward was not yet determined. On Thursday evening, however, Polish television reported the man would receive 50,000 zlotys - about $170 dollars - or six weeks’ average wages.

The man, about 40, was digging the ditch Oct. 23 in his garden plot in Glogow, about 250 miles southwest of Warsaw, when he hit something hard.

He removed a metal disk from the ground and digging deeper struck the remains of an ancient barrel, Lenarczyk said. After examining it, he alerted museum officials.

Archaeologists excavated the barrel containing about 20,000 coins of Polish, Czech and German origin.

The treasure also included several silver weight units, used to produce coins in the Middle Ages and which also served as currency in international trade, the museum director said.

Lenarczyk said the coins were in good condition, with little corrosion.

Museum officials are examining, preserving, photographing and cataloging the coins, he said.

″They will be a big attraction for our museum,″ Lenarczyk said. ″It is a lucky coincidence for us and a lot of work. It seems to me that our employees will be burdened with the work for at least five years.″

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