Coin Pre-dating the Roman Conquest of Britain Found in Archaeology Excavation

Our archaeologists are currently undertaking investigative field work in advance of civil infrastructure development in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. As an increasing part of the planning process, the presence of archaeologists excavating in trenches or open areas on construction sites is becoming more common and can generate interest from the media. Even at the earliest stages of this excavation, the magnitude of emerging artefacts has highlighted the challenge of dealing with complex archaeological remains and allowed us to advise and mitigate phased investigations to ensure delivery for our client.

Initial specialist metal detecting recovered an array of coins from the site, whose detail illustrates the significant span of occupation close to the major Roman road of Ermine Street. One coin depicts a seated metal worker and is just over 1cm in diameter, was issued by Cunobelin, a Celtic King of the Catuvellauni and Trinovantes tribes, who minted coins like this in c.AD10-43, before the Roman Conquest of Britain but very much in the style of Roman emperors. Other coins continue to be deposited for over 300 years, including a coin with the bust of the Constantine the Great (minted c.AD337-40), the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, and another with the legend GENIO POP ROM (and the figure of Genius), a common abbreviation of Genio Populi Romani, or ‘to the Genius (guardian spirit) of the Roman people’.

Coins are just one artefact type that preserve many layers of detail, and another early find from the  excavations progress has been a virtually complete beaker (image right) with a scroll or vine design beneath a dark red slip, which would have been produced in the Lower Nene Valley (near Peterborough) in the middle to late 2nd century AD and have been a fine drinking vessel on any table.

The on-site excavation of these finds is only one half of the project as the equally important analysis with be undertaken as part of the project once the site investigation has been concluded and signed off, ultimately finishing with the archiving and publication of the results.

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