THE DEPTH of hidden history that lies beneath our feet has been revealed at a series of inquests in Hampshire.

For centuries the land has hidden a wealth of artefacts but is now giving up its secret treasure - with a little help of metal detectors.

The biggest find was a hoard of Roman coins unearthed on a Meon Valley farm which date to the troubled reign of an usurper Emperor.

Fifteen copper alloy pieces - known as nummus - were found in Broom Farm, near Soberton, by a group called the Southern Detectorists.

The fourth-century collection was found slightly damaged by recent ploughing, Winchester Coroner's Court was told.

Katie Hinds (pictured above), Hampshire's finds liaison officer, said one coin was a counterfeit. This type “flourished” during the financially turbulent rise and fall of Magnentius, who reigned from 350 to 353 AD, she said.

The coins were found with a brooch and shard of Roman pottery.

Mr Short also heard details of how an unusual medieval ring was unearthed near the ruins of an historic bishop's palace.

A gold ring with stones believed to be rubies was found by a metal detectorist in Home Farm, Hursley, and dated to the late 12th or early 13th century.

The farm is built near the ruins of Merdon Castle and may have been lost in the civil strife of the period.

Detectorist Geoffrey Slingsby, from Waltham Chase, found the ornamental piece in October 2013.

Its three stones, including two suspected rubies, made it unusual for medieval times, a British Museum report said.

“It belonged to somebody of status,” said Ms Hinds.

“It's probably the first one I've seen in 14 years of doing the job, with that much detail. We do have medieval rings with a central stone but it's usually quite small.”

An ornate Anglo-Saxon clothing tag was also found in Longparish which has been dated to the ninth or tenth centuries.

The small treasure was unearthed by metal detectorist Nicholas O'Brien on Middleton Estate in November 2013.

It is engraved and decorated with plant tendrils.

Ms Hinds said it was used as a decorative dress piece for light clothing.

Other finds included: l A post-medieval silver bell was found in a field near Southampton during a search for lost farm equipment.

Richard Cranham, of Totton, was using his metal detector when he discovered the 14mm x 12mm object last May.

The inquest heard the bell is thought to be from the 16th or 17th centuries.

It was examined by the British Museum, which in a report said it could have been used on the collar of a domestic animal or hunting bird.

Declared as, it will now be valued by the Valuation Committee.

l A prehistoric ring was uncovered on the edge of the New Forest.

Experts at the British Museum examined the ring, which is thought to be dated between 1150 and 750 BC.

It was unearthed at Rockbourne by Jonathan Brooks, of Chilmark near Salisbury.

The inquest heard that it could have been worn in the hair.

l A religious pendant was discovered in a field near Andover.

The silver gilt crucifix was found in Amport by Chico Thomas, of East Cholderton near Salisbury.

Ms Hinds said it is dated to the 15th or 16th centuries.

l A solid gold medieval pendant was found in a field near Romsey.

Steven Moodie, of Fife in Scotland, found the jewellery in Sherfield English last year whilst using a metal detector.

Ms Hinds said it was beautiful and believed to date from the 15th century.

All the items were declared treasure by Central Hampshire coroner Grahame Short.