Skip to comments.Bronze coins found in Somerset reveal Roman age of austerity
Posted on 12/16/2011 8:30:46 PM PST by SunkenCiv
Archaeologists are celebrating the donation of a hoard of Roman coins -- described as " a hugely significant find" -- to the new Museum of Somerset.
The 2,118 bronze coins, found by archaeologists excavating a site at Maundown, near Wiveliscombe, before Wessex Water built a new water treatment plant, may be evidence of financial crisis in Romano-British Somerset.
They were found in 2006 and have been donated to Somerset County Council by Wessex Water after a Treasure Inquest at Taunton last week heard that the British Museum disclaimed interest on behalf of the Crown.
Stephen Minnitt, Head of Museums, said: "The Maundown Hoard of coins is a hugely significant find because instead of being buried in an apparently isolated location, like many other hoards, it was positioned beneath the floor of a Roman timber building...
"The hoard was buried in about AD 298, just a few years after the recently discovered Frome hoard..."
The work of cleaning and recording the coins has been carried out at the British Museum.
Wessex Water funded the excavation and donated the hoard along with other finds of pottery and artefacts such as a shale bracelet...
The Museum of Somerset, which is located in Taunton Castle, is free to enter and is open from 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Saturday and on Bank Holiday Mondays.
(Excerpt) Read more at thisissomerset.co.uk ...
Somerset County Council's Laura Burnett shows a small portion of the Roman coins discovered near Wiveliscombe
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
Interesting story with plenty of parallels to our current economy. The Romans kept debasing their currency until it was pretty much worthless. ...not to mention the illegal immigration issue they were dealing with over the Rio Rhine.
A couple years ago, I bought a bunch of uncleaned Roman coins for fun. Cleaning the coins was an adventure. It was really enjoyable to figure out what emperor was on each coin.
They were all supposed to be late bronze coins. Most were, but one turned out to be a silver Diocletian coin. That’s one of my favorite little keepsakes.
I’m glad the British Museum let this find go to the Somerset Museum, the British Museum must have so many artifacts and the Somerset Museum I would think can’t compete.
The Empire cranked out the worthless currency during hard times and increasing debt—Keynesian theory didn't begin with Keynes--some Roman economists thinking they could spend their way out of downturns was a big part of the decline.
Historical value only.
Not guilty(the girl not the coins).
Not to belittle your endeavor, but actually cleaning coins totally ruins any numismatic value. Of course, they were where worthless anyway, lol.
The type of cleaning he is referring to is to clean the debris from the coin so you can actually see what it is. Not shining them up. When you get those batches, they are sometimes clumped together by the filth and dirt that they were discovered in.
Quite the reverse — the Roman economy boomed because the Romans figured out that currency is a gov’t defined medium of exchange. Had they not discovered this, the Roman Empire would have vanished during the political chaos of the 3rd century. From the standpoint of having a pile of gold, the Roman Empire peaked under Trajan, but economically it thrived when the tax-crazy central authority was pretty much off everyone’s backs and local or provincial authority was busy fighting the neighbors.
:’) She’s got a great look in her eye. Or maybe that’s just in my eye...
BTW, I’ve often thought about trying one of those blobs of uncleaned coins.
True enough but bronze tender was the paper money of the time. It took ages to convince the civilized world that a promise of value equaled actual value.
The barbarian mercenaries the latter day Romans came to depend on for their national security demanded gold or plunder and they cared not where it came from.
Bronze does not bend easily when bitten and the savages would not be cheated.
Yabut completely ruins the taste of the soda.
Coca-Cola contains phosphoric acid, which will dissolve all kinds of corrosion on metals, bone, and teeth. Buy it at old-fashioned hardware stores and follow the directions.
However the Byzantine or Eastern Roman Empire hung on till 1453 and their gold Bezant was coin of the realm, of the world, for a very very long time
On the sublet of devaluation, I think of the process as being taught as Devaluation101 when studying to be king. The fact it has happened so many times in so many places leads me to conclude that the tried and true process for remedying the pains of too much borrowing or corruption is presently under way again.
As a current indicator, a measure of the inflation of prices, my yesterday’s haircut cost 17% more than the last one.
So-called debasement has to with the fact that economic activity is the only source of wealth in the society, is open-ended and variable, and isn’t a fixed amount. Fixed-size pies are agitprop tools of the confiscators and redistributors among us.
:’) There was practically no gold paid to the legions and auxiliaries over the centuries of the Roman Empire, and the bigger the empire got, the more currency was needed. Soldiers were paid in salt (that’s where the word “salary” comes from), vinegar, room and board, and after action booty from the occasional vanquished enemy. Bronze coin was never treated as paper money where gold could be demanded.
Trajan’s big gold strike came from his conquest of Dacia with its gold mines, which go back into prehistory a bit; Trajan’s catamite-loving successor had to be talked into hanging on to Dacia, but retreated from other areas (most famously, building Hadrian’s Wall), and spent his time as emperor travelling a good bit of the Empire, and persecuting the Jews, all the while knocking off young boys.
Rome’s gold supply went off into trade with India, if the complaints of at least one surviving Roman writer is true. The figures of this flow of gold were exaggerated (at best). Gold is rarely found on ancient wrecks from any era, it just wasn’t carried along as a rule; trade was in goods, iow barter.
OTOH, some enterprising Roman actually brought pottery makers from India and established their industry on the Egyptian shore of the Red Sea, thus moving the supply closer to the Roman market, and obviating the need for the time factor of the monsoon trade route. Rome learned of the orangutan and brought it as a curiousity to amuse the riff raff, and imported a lot of pepper, not to mention the silk and other common Far East goods.
The Byzantines controlled a buttload of trade thanks to the location, and of course, they persisted a long time, so gold Byzantine coins are fairly commonplace today. A good many of the bronze coins dug up in the Balkans by people armed only with metal detectors are of late Roman Empire date, but a good many are Byzantine.
Byzantine goods were traded by sea throughout the former Roman west, as pottery (which persists even in a broken state for a long time in the soil) and other stuff from Byzantium is found in archaological contexts in the UK. I suspect that any coin in use in post-Roman Britain was locally circulated, and that commercial transactions were by barter, which always works.
I have met someone from the UK who has found buried metal here and there, and (ahem) has never reported any of it. I think there’s a quantity standard at and above which reporting is legally required.
I’ll concede your mastery of the subject, my thoughts being not always reliable remnants from High School history 40 years ago and assorted documentaries on TV.
My main historical interests are mostly of the last several centuries.
Besides,Thule,Atlantis and Mu are much more captivating ancient civilizations than stuffy bloody old Rome;)
Those are pretty interesting places to study, not least because the field is so wide open. :’)
Gold : prices, facts, figures & research
Commodity Numbers FAQs
How much gold is there?
In the world there are currently somewhere between 120,000 and 140,000 tonnes of gold ‘above ground’. To visualise this imagine a single solid gold cube with edges of about 19 metres (about three metres short of the length of a tennis court). That’s all that has ever been produced.
Divided amongst the population of the world there are about 23 grams per person, about 1.2 cubic centimetres each. This equates to about $250 - $350 worth per person on Earth, depending on the current price.
Yes. I agree with this. Only getting the debris off is acceptable; not shining them up.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.