Some Roman coins of the usurper Allectus

Some Roman coins of the usurper Allectus

Flatbed scanning and image manipulation technology have come a long way since 1997 when I first made Coins of the Romans Relating to Britain By John Y. Akerman, 1836, available for free on the internet! (See some of my earlier and more primitive scanning attempts here) So I have been revisiting this classic work to provide better quality images of the interesting woodcuts of roman coins contained in this book:

Roman coin - Allectus Adventus
Woodcut of a roman coin of Allectus (293-296AD)

Above: Obverse. IMP ALLECTVS P F AVG. Imperator Allectus Pius Felix Augustus.

Reverse. ADVENTVS AVG. Adventus Augusti. Allectus on horseback, his right hand raised, his left holding the hasta: before, a captive seated on the ground: in the exergue, S P C.

A very unusual coin, for Allectus at least, this particlar reverse is very similar to the now famous denarius of Carausius from the Frome Hoard, found by metal detectorist Dave Crisp. Roman Coins and Their Values, 4th revised edition, doesn’t list this particular coin, could it be a forgery inspired by the Carausius denarius, or just a very rare issue of Allectus?

Roman coin of Allectus, Galley type
Woodcut of a roman coin of Allectus (293-296AD)

Above: The classic coin of Allectus, the Galley reverse. RCV lists three different ‘Galley’ types.

See also: Coins of the Romans Relating to Britain, Plates I-VI

Celtic gold coins found whilst volunteering for an archaeological unit

Celtic gold staters of Tasciovanus, king of the Catuvellauni tribe

Celtic gold staters of Tasciovanus. Celtic gold coins.
Celtic gold staters of Tasciovanus. Celtic gold coins.

Celtic gold stater (right) and quarter stater (left) of Tasciovanus, king of the Catuvellauni tribe (from around 20BC until around 9AD) and father of Cunobelin, that I found whilst volunteering for an archaeological unit. Equipment used was a Compass Coin Pro II metal detector and a massive yellow JCB in place of my usual Black ADA. These photos turned out pretty well considering they were taken on the cover of one of my finds log books that was sitting on the boot of the presiding archaeologists car!

Celtic gold staters of Tasciovanus. Celtic gold coins.
Celtic gold staters of Tasciovanus. Celtic gold coins.

Payment received by me for these two rare gold coins? £0.00p. If they were acquired by a museum after the Treasure Act inquest (I was not told what happened to the coins after that point) at St Albans Coroners Court, they certainly got a bargain! The FLO who attended the inquest as expert witness certainly seemed impressed. They are certainly among my all time favourite metal detecting finds! Celtic gold coins found whilst volunteering for an archaeological unit forum thread.
Celtic gold stater of Tasciovanus

Celtic gold staters of Tasciovanus. Celtic gold coins.
Celtic gold staters of Tasciovanus. Celtic gold coins.
Celtic gold staters of Tasciovanus. Celtic gold coins.
Celtic gold staters of Tasciovanus. Celtic gold coins.

Celtic gold quarter stater of Tasciovanus

Celtic gold quarter stater of Tasciovanus

Metal Detecting UK

The bad old days – finding hoards without a metal detector

The bad old days – finding hoards without a metal detector

finding hoards without a metal detector
Finding Hoards in the Bad Old Days

This is how hoards were found in the bad old days, before metal detectors. Smashed to pieces by the plough! Illustration from the book Coins of the Romans Relating to Britain By John Y. Akerman, Published 1836 (the book is reproduced in full at the link).

When archaeologists uncover hoards they are usually in the foundations of buildings. The classic example being hoards of Roman bronze coins (sometimes very large hoards) being uncovered in the foundations of Roman Villas and other structures. The Romans buried coin hoards in the foundations of buildings as offerings to the gods or household spirits.

The Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain

The Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain

The list of the Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain – the original manuscripts, written in Welsh, date from the 15th and 16th centuries, but they almost certainly draw on paper sources and oral traditions that are far, far older.

The list of the Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain is long over due an update, let’s bring the list of the Thirteen Treasures of Britain into the 21st century!

I’m not talking strictly about metal detecting finds here, but also coins, artefacts, hoards, brooches, weapons etc. that may have been excavated by archaeologists, found purely by chance by people digging drainage ditches or ploughing fields, uncovered by barrow diggers or by workman renovating old buildings.

Here are a few suggestions to get things started:

The items on the above list may not possess the supernatural abilities and properties of the original Thirteen Treasures, but they are certainly all magical in their own way.

Have your say, what are Great Britain’s Thirteen Greatest Treasures? leave a comment here, over on the forum or email me! If we can get together a good, interesting list, I’ll set up a poll so that everybody and anybody can vote for their favourites.

Mystery metal detecting finds – Roman dodecahedron

Mystery metal detecting finds – Roman dodecahedron

Roman dodecahedron - mystery metal detecting finds
Photograph of a Roman dodecahedron from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Schwarzenacker_Pentagondodekaeder1.jpg

Ever found one of these? Roman dodecahedra are believed to date from the second and third century AD, and range from 4 to 11cm in size. There are many theories about what they may have been used for, but I believe they were used as portable personal altars, possibly to a water god or spirit, others have said that they may have been used as candle holders as some of known examples were found with wax on them. They are certainly one of the more strange items that you might uncover whilst metal detecting.

Roman dodecahedra are objects that may not be immediately recognizable to a lot of metal detectorists, and I have often wondered how many more of them might be out there! If you have ever found one, leave a comment or drop me an email.

Roman dodecahedron - mystery metal detecting finds
Photograph of a Roman dodecahedron from wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Roman_dodecahedron.jpg

Other links:

Metal Detecting UK