A HERITAGE campaigner is calling for a recently-discovered treasure trove of Roman coins to be exhibited in Gwent.

The 599 silver coins, dated around AD 160, were declared treasure by Gwent coroner David Bowen on Wednesday.

They were found in a field in Llanvaches, just outside Newport, in June last year by metal detector enthusiast Brian Stephens.

The hoard is thought to be worth tens of thousands of pounds and is set to be officially valued in the coming weeks. The haul will then be bought and exhibited by the National Museum of Wales But the museum revealed the coins are likely to be kept at the National Museum in Cardiff instead of at the Roman Museum in Caerleon.

Charles Ferris, founder of the Friends of the Ship group, who campaigned for the preservation and exhibition of the medieval Newport Ship in the city, said it would be a tragedy if the find wasn't kept in the city.

He believes room should be found at Caerleon's Roman Museum for the the coin hoard, thought to be one of the largest of its kind on record.

"We have to try and make sure they are kept here. If they are kept in Cardiff they will just become anonymous among many other exhibits.

"It's about time we appreciated the Roman heritage in our region. An exhibit like this will definitely boost tourism in this area."

And Mr Ferris said plans should be made for Caerwent to have its own museum celebrating its significant hiostory.

The Llanvaches hoard comprised of silver denarii and is believed to be either the life savings of a retired soldier who settled locally, or the proceeds of commerce relating to Caerleon or Caerwent.