An amateur archaeologist has unearthed a Roman coin that was probably used by soldiers to pay for sex in brothels, on the banks of the River Thames.
Made from bronze and smaller than a ten pence piece, the coin depicts a man and a woman engaged in an intimate act, the Telegraph reported. It lay preserved in mud for almost 2,000 years until pastry chef Regis Cursan unearthed it with a metal detector.
On the reverse of the token is the numeral XIIII, which historians say could indicate that the holder handed over 14 small Roman coins called asses to buy it. This would have been the equivalent of one day's pay for a labourer in the first century AD.
The holder would then have taken the token to one of the many Londinium brothels and handed it to a sex slave in exchange for sex. Cursan, 37, found the coin near Putney Bridge in West London.
"The day I made the find it was a very low, early tide and raining heavily. At first I thought it was a Roman coin, because of the thickness and diameter," he told the Daily Mail.
"When I rubbed the sand off the artefact the first thing I saw was the number on one side and what I thought was a goddess on the other. Little did I know at the time it was actually a rare Roman brothel token. To find something like that is a truly exciting find," he added.
The token has been donated to the Museum of London, where it will be on display for the next three months. "This is the only one of its kind ever to be found in Great Britain," said Curator Caroline McDonald.