Hundreds of Roman era gold coins have been discovered on the site of an old theatre in northern Italy, the Ministry of Culture announced.
The perfectly-preserved coins, which date back to the end of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, were found in a stone urn in the Cressoni theatre basement in the city of Como.
Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli described the finding as "a discovery that fills me with pride”.
"We do not yet know in detail the historical and cultural significance of this discovery but this area is a real treasure for our archeology," he added in a statement shared on Facebook.
The theatre, which opened in 1870 and was later turned into a cinema before closing in 1997, was due to be demolished to make way for the construction of a luxury residence.
But work at the site will now be suspended to allow for further excavations, according to officials.
Meanwhile, the coins have been taken to a restoration laboratory, where experts are trying to find out more about where they came from.