Bredon Hill Roman Coin Hoard – the coins

This initial report on the Bredon Hill Roman Coin Hoard coins was made in early August 2011 by Richard Henry, Portable Antiquities Scheme Finds Liaion Officer for Worcestershire and Warwickshire.

The coin hoard consists of around 3,700 debased Roman radiates which had been stored in a Severn Valley ware vessel. The radiate denomination was introduced by Caracella (AD 198-217) as a double denarius, although over the next half century the radiate became heavily debased and a primarily copper-alloy denomination. There were a number of attempts to reform the coinage, the reforms of Aurelian (AD 270-275) created a larger module coin which was often silver washed or plated.

A preliminary identification of a select number of coins suggest the coins date from AD 260–282. A number of radiates of Gallienus (AD 260-268) and rulers from the Gallic Empire (Reece Period 13) were visible. There are a large number of post-reform radiates from Reece Period 14, including Aurelian, Florian (AD 276), and Probus (AD 276-282). The coins average around 3 grams a coin which is consistent with the later post-reform radiates under Aurelian and his successors. Further research and an emperor count are required to supplement any further details on the hoard.

Hoards of debased Roman radiates are relatively common. A recent example is the Frome Hoard, which contained a similar range of emperors and dates, However, the present hoard lacks radiates of Carausius (AD 286-293) and Allectus (AD 293-296) which are commonly found in other radiate hoards. It also contains radiates of Gallic emperors which other ‘legitimist’ hoards lack. Considering that radiate hoards are relatively common there are few examples of hoards being deposited in later periods, except for the Gloucestershire hoard, which was deposited in a vessel c AD 420.

Thirteen coins were found also during the excavation, they consist of one Roman sestertius, probably from the 2nd century AD, 11 Roman radiates dating to between AD 260–275 (Reece Period 13) and one probable barbarous radiate. Further research which will be undertaken at the British Museum will be needed to date these coins more precisely.

Richard works closely with Museums Worcestershire in his role for the Portable Antiquities Scheme, a goverment-funded scheme co-ordinated by the British Museum.

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