Pre-Roman and Roman Winchester - Vol. 2

By Giles Clarke; J. L. MacDonald et al. | Go to book overview

2 COINS

by RICHARD REECE

THE excavation produced 109 coins, six of silver and the remainder bronze. Eighty-three were found close to the skeleton or coffin, thirteen came from the filling of graves, three lay beside a grave-mound, and ten were found in other contexts. Details of the coins are presented by grave in Table 30, together with the dates they suggest.

After the find-number in Table 30, a date is given which represents the time when that particular coin was probably struck. A second date is given for each grave-group, which is a subjective estimate of the date at which the coin or coins might have been deposited.1 The general rule which has been followed is the assumption that coins which occur commonly on sites in Britain may have been deposited at any time up to the moment when they were largely replaced by the next common issue. This applies to the issues of 330-41, which were not replaced until the issues of 364-78, which in turn were not replaced until the issue starting in 388. It is assumed that larger coins, such as the issues of 310-30 and 348-56, were removed from circulation more quickly than their smaller counterparts and may therefore give a more accurate date. This is important for those graves which have regular coins of Magnentius, for it seems very likely that these must date between 350 and c. 367.

Wherever a group of coins exists in a grave there is, in general, a remarkable agreement between the coins as to date. Graves 8 and 365 contain perfectly acceptable earlier coins; Graves 336 and 437 contain surprising residual coins which have been selected and saved. Graves 289 and 378 contain a mixture of coins, but these compare well with many hoards of the late fourth century where the size of the flan seems to be the main factor influencing the composition of the group.

If the coins are considered as a uniform sequence, some surprising gaps emerge. If these are purely numismatic, and the graves are judged to run smoothly through the fourth century, such gaps may deserve notice. Only two graves (Graves 152 and 344) produced recognisable radiate coins of the third century. Both coins belong to the last years of the radiate period ( 290-6) and the coin of Diocletian is a very unusual find. Taken with the absence of the earlier radiate issues which are present in Feature 12, the coin evidence states almost categorically that none of the graves with coins should be dated to before c. 300. This date should probably be pushed forward by two decades, for there is a complete absence of the folles minted from 294 to 307, and only three coins from the period 307 to 313, one of these being residual. This strongly suggests that the graves with coins in them date from after c. 320 and that it was not until c. 350 that such burials became common.2 Twelve graves appear to be dated by coins between 345 and 364, fourteen between 364 and 378, and eight between 387 and 400. Once the sequence of coin-graves is firmly established, it then continues completely as expected from the numismatic point of view, except for the surprising number of large coins of c. 350-60. From their coins alone, Graves 81, 323 (coins by mound), 329, and 336 seem to hang together as a close-knit

____________________
1
These dates differ from the dates of graves given in Table 2. To give them a greater likelihood of being correct, the latter often assume a longer time in circulation for the coins, and they also take account of other evidence (see above, p. 22).
2
See above, p. 4, for further discussion of when burial started at Lankhills.

-202-

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Pre-Roman and Roman Winchester - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Author's Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Figures xvii
  • List of Tables xxi
  • List of Abbreviations xxiii
  • Introduction li
  • Part I - The Excavation 1
  • 1 - Circumstances of Excavation 1
  • 2 - Archaeological Background 4
  • 3 - General Character of the Excavation 12
  • 4 - The Graves *
  • 5 - Other Features 96
  • Part II - Analysis 111
  • 1 - Introduction 111
  • 2 - Chronology 113
  • 3 - Age and Sex 123
  • 4 - Cremations 128
  • 5 - Inhumations: The Grave 131
  • 6 - Inhumations: The Grave-Furniture 145
  • 7 - Cemetery Organisation 183
  • Part III - The Finds 201
  • 1: Introduction 201
  • 2 - Coins 202
  • 3 - Pewter Vessels 206
  • 4 - Glass Vessels 209
  • 5 - Pottery Vessels 221
  • 6 - Animal Remains 239
  • 7 - Equipment 246
  • 8 - Cross-Bow Brooches 257
  • 9 - Belts and Belt-Fittings 264
  • 10 - Beads and Necklaces 292
  • 11 - Bracelets 301
  • 12 - Other Personal Ornaments 315
  • 13 - Hobnails and Footwear 322
  • 14 - Miscellaneous Objects 326
  • 15 - Textile Remains 329
  • 16 - Coffin-Nails, Coffin-Fittings, and Coffins 332
  • 17 - Human Skeletons: Preliminary Reports 342
  • 18 - Economic Conclusions 345
  • Part IV - Discussion 347
  • 1 - Late Romano-British Burial Practice 347
  • 2 - Foreign Elements 377
  • 3 - Religion 404
  • Concordances 434
  • Addenda 451
  • Index of Sites 517
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