A RARE lead-lined coffin and more than 200 Roman coins have been unearthed in an Ilminster field.

Taunton-based group Detecting for Veterans were out in the field for its Christmas charity dig.

One member, Kevin Minto, discovered a button, a piece of lead, then a whole hoard of Roman coins in the field, the address of which cannot be identified due to the significance of the find.

Mr Minto said: "I hit two Roman coins, then one to the left, right and above...then 18 and within 20 mins we were in the 50s."

The group was founded by former 1st Battalion Light Infantry Veteran, Jason Massey, in 2015. At first the group was just for his family before he realised how many veterans were keen on metal detecting.

Mr Massey said: "As soon as the first coin was found I rang a Finds Liaison Officer for advice before carrying on and recording and documenting the hoard.

"The admin team acted in the best interests of the hoard as did all the present detectorists and they should all be commended for demonstrating a prime example of responsible detecting."

In total some 260 coins, dated from 270AD-305AD, and one ring two broaches, were recovered over four days before the group returned to the site with the Somerset Archaeological team and discovered the Roman grave site.

The Roman lead coffin believed to be that of a young woman dates from 400ad.

Laura Burnett, Somerset's Finds Liaison Officer said: “The grave is enormously significant as only a handful of lead lined Roman coffins have ever been found in Somerset and only 200 nationally.”

The hoard of around 260 copper alloy coins is currently with the British Museum for cleaning and formal recording.?

If the British Museum or the local Museum goes on to purchase the hoard, the finder and the landowner will get a 50/50 split as per Treasure Trove rules.?

The site, which is privately owned, will continue to be subject to further archaeological investigations in the New Year.

The detecting group supports two charities through its activities,The Veteran's charity and Talking2Minds.

The Veteran's charity is a welfare charity which helps veterans who are in need of financial support for rent or to do any household shopping due to falling on hardship.

Talking2Minds is a charity set up to help Veterans with PTSD and other mental health problems.