updated 6/3/2005 6:36:34 PM ET 2005-06-03T22:36:34

Archaeologists have uncovered 17 ancient Celtic coins in a field in the south of the Netherlands, the first hoard of such coins found in the country.

Amsterdam's Free University excavated the site in April and will display the coins, which are made of silver and mixed with copper and gold, in the Limburgs Museum in the city of Venlo on Saturday.

They are estimated to date from 20-50 B.C., shortly after Julius Caesar began the Roman conquest of the region.

Leaders of local Germanic tribes "probably used these coins to reward their followers for loyalty," researchers said.

Similar finds have been made in neighboring Belgium and Germany.

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