Archaeological Numismatist

Tag: numismatics (Page 1 of 2)

Rethinking Roman Worcester: new publication for November 2022

Hot on the heels of last month’s articles in the Worcestershire Recorder, I’m pleased to share news of a new article by me in the 2022 Transactions of the Worcestershire Archaeological Society!

Entitled ‘Coinage and conquest: numismatic evidence for a Roman military presence at Worcester’, my article reconsiders the long-debated ‘Worcester fort’ in light of nearly 3000 single finds of Roman coins from the county.

The analysis shows that Worcester has produced significantly more early Roman coins, particularly of the Claudio-Neronian and early Flavian coins, than most other parts of Worcestershire. Importantly, statistical testing demonstrates that this cannot be down to random chance. While this is intrinsically interesting in light of documented military activity in the region at this period, it becomes significantly more important when seen at the site level: the closest parallels for Worcester’s coin loss profile aren’t civilian small towns, but are actually military-turned-civilian settlements like Exeter and London.

AV aureus of Claudius, AD 51-2 (Public domain, courtesy of the American Numismatic Society)

Placed alongside the evidence of militaria, road patterns, and post-Roman place names, the numismatic results make a strong case for identifying Worcester as the site of an as-yet-undiscovered Roman fort. Quite where it might be remains unknown, but the distribution of coins and military metalwork suggest that, as at York, Worcester’s Roman fort could lie beneath a medieval cathedral.

If this sounds intriguing, why not have a look yourself? To purchase a copy of the Transactions, get in touch with the Worcestershire Archaeological Society.

For a full list of my publications to date, check out the ‘Publications’ page on this website.

Some Worcestershire treasures: new publications for October 2022

The new issue of the Worcestershire Recorder has landed through my letterbox, and features a great selection of pieces exploring the county’s fascinating archaeology and local history – including two articles by yours truly!

The first article takes a fresh look at an enigmatic gold coin found during building work in Worcester in November 1859. While the coin can no longer be traced, written sources allow us to identify it as a cruzado of Manuel I of Portugal (1495-1521). These coins were legal tender in the mid-Tudor period, but are exceptionally rare as archaeological finds, with just 20 examples recorded across all of England and Wales. The Worcester cruzado fits within the existing distribution pattern, which has a south-western skew that reflects the role of the Bristol Channel as a hub of 16th-century Anglo-Iberian trade.

The second article is co-authored with my good friend Kate Potter-Farrant, and presents the results of fieldwork by the North Worcestershire Archaeology Group (NWAG) at Furnace Farm, Shelsley Walsh, in 2017. These investigations revealed activity dating from the Roman period to the present day, including the remains of two 18th- to 20th-century labourers’ cottages and post-medieval ironworking waste. The article builds on Kate’s incredible work on the finds assemblage, undertaken as part of her degree in Archaeology and Heritage Studies at the University of Worcester, and casts new light on a site excavated by a top-tier community group.

So why not have a look? To purchase a copy of the Worcestershire Recorder, get in touch with the Worcestershire Archaeological Society.

For a full list of my publications to date, check out the ‘Publications’ page on this website.

A Civil War hoard from Hampshire: new publication for September 2022

We’re now in September, and I’m pleased to share news of another article I’ve written that’s out in the wild!

This one appears in the Autumn 2022 Newsletter of the Hampshire Field Club & Archaeological Society. It reviews the evidence for a previously unnoticed hoard of Civil War-era silver coins found at Mousehole, nr Southampton, in May 1889. The hoard is an interesting one, consisting of shillings and sixpence hidden in a leather bag or purse some time after 1638. The article explores the circumstances of its burial in the light of other Civil War hoards from Hampshire, and suggests that it represents a stash of ‘ready money’ hidden just before the outbreak of war in August 1642.

So why not have a look? To get your hands on a copy, contact the Hampshire Field Club & Archaeological Society via their website.

For a full list of my publications to date, check out the ‘Publications’ page on this website.

Roman coins from Southwark: new publication for August 2022

The latest edition of the Surrey Archaeological Collections has just been published, and features a report by me on Roman coins excavated at the Science Gallery on the Kings College London Guy’s Campus.

KCL Guy’s Campus (©FormerBBC via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)

The Science Gallery site was excavated by Pre-Construct Archaeology Ltd in 2016-17, and the site report by Alistair Douglas contains some fantastic evidence for activity on the south bank of the Thames from prehistory to the present day. During the Roman period the site was drained and repurposed for agricultural and industrial use, but prolonged flooding left it largely abandoned between the later 4th and 13th centuries.

My section of the report focuses on the coins from the site, nearly all of which are associated with late Roman activity. They include a small hoard of seven bronze nummi hidden or lost in horticultural soil in c.367-78. This is the first Valentinianic bronze hoard to be found in London and Southwark, and one of only three known from the whole of Greater London. The hoard is a fascinating snapshot of currency in circulation on the south bank of Roman Londinium, and provides strong evidence for a continued need for small change at a time of percieved ‘urban decline’.

If any of this interests you, why not have a look? To order your copy, visit the website of the Surrey Archaeological Society

For a full list of my publications to date, check out the ‘Publications’ page on this website.

A haul of hoards: new publications for March 2022

Members of the British Numismatic Society will have by now received copies of the 2021 edition of the British Numismatic Journal, which features three new articles I’ve written on medieval and early modern coin hoards.

‘Three Tudor hoards containing continental gold coins’, British Numismatic Journal, 91 (2021), 115-125.

The first article discusses three previously-unrecorded coin hoards from Tudor England. Notably, each hoard contains gold coins struck in continental Europe, a fascinating phenomenon most recently discussed by Richard Kelleher. Aside from their numismatic interest, the hoards have some interesting archaeological and historical associations: one find from the River Thames near Lambeth Palace was probably lost by a traveller taking the famous Horseferry to Westminster, while the likely owners of the two hoards from Southampton and Pendock can be traced in historical records.

View across the River Thames towards Lambeth Palace (Image © Tagishsimon for Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

The two other articles also record coin hoards. On describes an 1859 discovery of coins of Henry I and Stephen hidden at Dalton-in-Furness during the twelfth-century ‘Anarchy’, while the other gives summary listings of 47 medieval and post-medieval coin hoards reported under the Treasure Act 1996 by December 2020.

All in all, plenty of material to whet your numismatic whistle! To purchase a copy, get in touch with the BNS via their website.

For a full list of my publications to date, check out the ‘Publications’ page on this website.

Iron Age and Roman coins from Surrey: new publications!

New month, new publications!

The latest edition of the Surrey Archaeological Collections has just hit the shelves, and contains two offerings by me on excavation coins from the county.

The first is a publication of 55 Iron Age and Roman coins found during PCA excavations at the Nescot Site, Ewell, in 2015. Investigations at the site revealed an important Roman quarry complex on the edge of Stane Street, and provide significant new evidence for life and landscape in the southern hinterland of Roman Londinium.

The second is a short note on four Roman and post-medieval coins from PCA excavations at Staines High Street in 2017. This site was low-lying marginal land on the edge of a floodplain, and the coins help us date attempts to bring it into agricultural use during the Roman period.

Why not have a read? To purchase a copy, get in touch with the Society via their website.

For a full list of my publications to date, check out the ‘Publications’ page on this website.

‘Aged like a fine wine’: new publication for June 2021

New publication alert!

The latest Bulletin of the Token Corresponding Society is out now, and features an article I’ve written on an enigmatic series of countermarked coin tickets issued by ‘Massey’ of Abergavenny, Kidderminster, and Ludlow.

Countermarked wine ticket of Massey of Kidderminster
(Image © Murray Andrews)

Drawing on new historical and numismatic research, this article reassesses the series as a whole, providing new evidence for their dates and circumstances of production. Crucially, I argue that all three tickets were in fact issued by the same person: Thomas Massey (c.1750-1800), a travelling wine merchant active in the Welsh Marches during the late eighteenth century.  This conclusion reiterates the importance of coins, tokens, and tickets as communication media in the past. If countermarked coin tickets didn’t help advertise Massey’s business, it’s not clear why he’d bother to make them on three separate occasions!

If you want to learn more, why not give it a read? To purchase a copy, get in touch with the Society via their website.

For a full list of my publications to date, check out the ‘Publications’ page on this website.

Cash in the attic: new publication for May 2021

New article alert!

The Cercle d’Études Numismatiques have just published the 2020 volume of the Journal of Archaeological Numismatics (JAN). This year’s offering is a special issue on the ‘Archaeology of Monetary Deposits’, and has a fantastic selection of papers on coin hoards across space and time: from Ireland to Italy, and from antiquity to World War 2!

My article explores late medieval coin hoarding in domestic contexts, using Britain and Ireland as a case study. Taking in evidence from nearly 200 hoards, the article uses a range of statistical techniques to explore how and why medieval hoarders hid their money at home. Like all JAN articles, it’s lavishly illustrated with colour maps and graphs – and, as an added bonus, there is a full gazetteer providing a point-of-entry to the hoards themselves.

So why not have a read? To purchase a copy, get in touch with the editor via the CEN website.

For a full list of my publications to date, check out the ‘Publications’ page on this website.

Coins and slavery in Worcestershire: register now!

In recent months I’ve been working with Museums Worcestershire to unlock the hidden histories of empire and slavery that lie within their numismatic collections. On 11 May I’m giving a bite-size online talk on this topic, highlighting some of the fascinating stories and objects that we’ve uncovered during the project.

Nathaniel Buck’s Prospect of the City of Worcester, 1732 (public domain via British Library)

Registration is free, so why not come along? To book your place, follow the links on the Museums Worcestershire website!

Looking back, looking forward: 2020 in focus

It’s fair to say that 2020 has been a difficult and unusual year for the heritage sector. In the face of an ongoing pandemic, we’ve all had to find new ways of delivering high-quality work while remaining safe and healthy. Fortunately, heritage professionals are an adaptable and resilient bunch, and much work has continued under new conditions. Unfortunately, however, some activities and projects have had to be postponed until conditions improve.

In times like these, it’s important to celebrate the successes we make. So, in this spirit, I want to take a few minutes to reflect on this year’s achievements, and to look forward to new prospects in 2021.

roman republican coin
Janus Bifrons on a Republican as: one head looks back, the other looks forward.
Celebrating achievements in 2020

During 2020 I have worked on some fascinating projects with a range of professional clients and partners. Much of this work has involved the identification and analysis of coins found during development-led archaeological fieldwork: everything from Roman coins from East Yorkshire, to 18th-century tokens from Greater London. For other projects, however, I have turned my attention to material in museum collections. In December, for example, I started working on a new project with Museums Worcestershire, unlocking stories of empire and slavery hidden within their numismatic collections. It has been a great privilege to work on such a diverse body of material from all over!

Archaeology and numismatics both depend on a regular supply of new information and knowledge. For this reason, I’m pleased to have produced a number of new research publications in 2020. Among other things, these have included studies of antiquarian coin finds from London, Shropshire, and Worcestershire, significant new excavation coins from Saxon Lundenwic, and a round-up of recent medieval and post-medieval coin hoards reported through the Treasure Act 1996. Back in September I also had the pleasure of sharing some of my research into coin hoards with the wider public, making a video presentation for the online Festival of Coins.

Finally, I was deeply honoured to receive the British Numismatic Society’s Blunt Prize, in recognition of my ‘considerable output, energy and commitment to British numismatics’. Many thanks to the Society for this wonderful accolade.

What’s coming in 2021?

I look forward to sharing some exciting new work in 2021. On the publication front, I have some important articles and book chapters in the pipeline: these include an extended study of coin hoards from medieval settlements, which will soon appear in the Journal of Archaeological Numismatics, plus a review of some forgotten Tudor gold hoards for the next British Numismatic Journal. On top of these, I have several reports on excavation coins due out over the next 12 months. Plenty of stuff to wet your numismatic whistle – do check the ‘News‘ page for further details.

For those of you of a West Midlands bent, I also have some speaking engagements lined up. On 8 February I will be presenting a lecture to the Worcestershire Archaeological Society, exploring the contribution of coin finds to the study of Roman military activity. Not long after, I’ll be giving a bite-size talk at Worcester City Museum and Art Gallery on the rise and fall of  Atlantic slavery, as seen through coins, tokens, and medals in their collection. Given the current circumstances, both will be virtual presentations streamed online. More details will be circulated closer to the time.

As ever, I look forward to providing high-quality, cost-effective archaeological and numismatic services for interested clients. In 2020 I have completed projects for a range of commercial units, community groups, and museums, and I am excited to continue this work in 2021. So, if you have any project enquiries – small or large, near or far – be sure to get in touch

Many thanks to all the clients, colleagues, and friends that I’ve worked with during this unusual year, and best wishes to all for a happy 2021!

« Older posts

© 2024 Dr Murray Andrews

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑