Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Holographic archaeology -- distribution maps from hoards

The four largest Brittany hoards showing  old ( I-VI ) and new (XYZ) classifications
If you cannot see any distribution patterns from a number of local hoards, chances are that the classification system that you are using is wrong. There are some exceptions, most notably the British Iceni hoards that were buried long after many of the coins were issued. I decided to use only those hoards containing more that 80 Coriosolite coins as with six classes to work with, small hoards would be of little value. The first hoard which should have alerted people to an error in the classification system was Merdrignac. The coins were believed to be a single issue starting with Class VI and ending with Class II (showing the inaccuracies of the previous system). If the revised system is accurate then there should be some explanation of the lack of Class III coins when the classes assumed to be before and after Class III (I and II) were represented in the hoard and yet Class III was absent. Another poorly recorded hoard (Henan-Bihem) is said to have consisted of a large number of Class III coins  -- we can only assume that this deposit was of freshly minted coins and that perhaps they were accumulated not far from the mint site.

After reclassifying the coins, I was surprised to see how close the associated hoard profiles turned out to be. This was noticeable with the relationship of Series X to Y. Series Z, being "foreign"content, showed no relationship at all. Merdrignac with its 502 coins had a very close profile to Roz-Landrieux with only 89 coins. A similar relationship existed with Trébry (1756) and Penguilly (86 coins). As all of the other hoards had much less than 80 coins, it was fortunate that circa 80 coins revealed the distribution pattern. It was my wife who first noticed that the River Rance appeared to be the defining boundary of my new classification system: the mint site of Series X appeared to be on the east side of the Rance, while that of Series Y was on the east side of the river. As Series Z was from Normandy, it bore no relationship to Series Y and Z whatsoever.

You will also notice that the VI to II classification shows typical chronological patterns for the classes within my Series X or Y (and this would also have included Henan-Bihem if I had included it).

The Jersey hoards exhibit a very different profile but as this is rather complex, involving coins from other tribes to be able to understand it, it must wait until tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment