Post-Roman Coins from York Excavations 1971-81


list of authors
E. J. E. Pirie
list of contributors
M. M. Archibald
R. A. Hall
B. H. I. H. Stewart
C. E. Blunt
P. V. Addyman
Is Part Of
The Archaeology of York [Series]
The Coins [Volume]
Council for British Archaeology for York Archaeological Trust
Date Copyrighted
Date Available
Digitally available on 28 July 2023
The material recorded in this fascicule comes principally from the 25 sites excavated by York Archaeological Trust during the decade 1972-81 ; in addition there are coins from two sites investigated by L. P. Wenham between 1961 and 1971, before the Trust was established. This report complements the author's Sylloge on coins in Yorkshire collections published in 1975 (SCBI 21). The coins range from the silver sceattas struck in the early years of the 8th century to those of the 20th century ; they include examples from most of the post-Roman series in Britain and others from issues made overseas. Dies and other objects associated with minting are registered, as well as coin weights, jettons, tokens and a medal.

A short survey of coins recovered in York and recorded since the 17th century contrasts the evidence of hoards with that of the growing number of site-finds. The former permits study of coins in quantity and recognition of sequence of issue; the latter not only provides dating evidence of greater or lesser precision, but furnishes a variety of additional detail for research such as specimens not known in hoards, as well as context of circulation and loss. A general synopsis of the relevant series is presented, and recent or current research noted. Against this background, individual specimens from some of the sites are specially remarked: an example, for instance, of a hitherto unrecorded Northumbrian styca, issued in the 9th century. Norman issues are as yet poorly represented since only one of the sites explored has yielded a (fragmentary) specimen.

Particular attention is paid to the finds from the Viking settlement in 16-22 Coppergate: limited in number, they are outstanding in identity and quality. A brief archaeological commentary on the site is followed by appreciation of the coins. Many of these are from the mint at York itself; the presence of foreign coins (Scandinavian, Carolingian and Arabic) contrasts their acceptance in the north with their contemporary exclusion in the south of England. The two 10th century dies are discussed; one, for the St Peter coinage, is complete; the other, for Æthelred, is no more than the crucial front portion. The cutting of the dies is reviewed as well as the making of the implements by joining two separate elements each formed from iron of different strengths. So-called trial-pieces from this site and elsewhere are examined in an attempt to differentiate the initial tests from subsequent proofs and record-pieces. One of these, the enigmatic lead plate from the time of Eadwig (955-9), the style and provenance of which conflict, is set against the political turmoil of the reign.

The initial Coppergate essay is supplemented by three contributions: on one of the coins of Æthelred, on the dating of the St Peter die and on a Carolingian die from the mint at Melle.

The emphasis on Coppergate is balanced by briefer schedules of the other sites, so that the relevant coins may be related to their context of discovery.
Rights Holder
York Archaeological Trust
CC BY 4.0
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