Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Seaton Down Roman coin hoard

Seaton Down hoard
© Trustees of the British Museum
The Seaton Down hoard appears to me to be another example of a hoard buried so as not bring about problems in a non coin-using region. I first proposed this classification of hoards for the Frome hoard.

I noticed that a Portable Antiquities Scheme search for coins found in Devon of the house of Constantine yielded only thirty-eight results and these included some multiple finds. A hoard tells us much more if we compare its contents to accidental losses in the same area. As the exact location of the hoard is being withheld, I searched just for the county finds. I have not checked to see if all finds of the Constantine family are identified by the "house of Constantine" filter, but it is known that Devon had very little Roman interference and even the previously occupying Celtic tribe never issued any coinage. Devon is also rather shy of Early Celtic art, too.

You can see all of the currently released hoard information in its PAS record.

There is apparently the remains of a Roman villa not to far away and such villas often had supporting farms around them and their owners often boasted about their self-sufficiency. The owner of such a villa might have been a retiring soldier, but also might just have been a wealthy local farmer who could afford the best. As prominent farmers would have loaned cattle to independent or tenant farmers at an interest (all paid in cattle), their fortunes would not be limited to what was produced by the lands under their sole control.

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