Friday, 23 October 2015

Dean Crawford — Living among the Dobunni: the Bodvoc gold stater

Bodvoc gold stater
photo: Dean Crawford
Of all the coins of the Dobunni, this one is the most iconic. In John Evans FSA FGS, The Coins of the Ancient Britons, London, 1864, several pages are devoted to it and Evans dismisses the early views that the legend referred to Boudicca of the Iceni.

Dean's example clearly shows the obverse features mentioned at the outset by Evans (p.134):
"On both varieties there is a slight indentation round the edge of the letters, showing that they were not engraved, but punched into the dies, and that the burr thus occasioned was not removed from the face of the dies, having been probably left with the view of giving greater apparent relief to the letters on the coins. Though the legend upon them occupies the same position as the TINC and COM.F on the coins of the South-eastern district, yet there is this material difference, that it is not placed within a sunk recess, like a countermark, but stands up in high relief on the field."
I include the last part of this quote which refers to the coinage of Tincomaros of the British Atrebates as I speculate on the meaning of the name Tincomaros.

You can see more Bodvoc gold staters (47 records) on my Celtic Coin Index Online.

Have an iconic weekend and I will be back with more in this series on Monday.

John's Coydog Community page


  1. Hi John:

    A most enjoyable read as usual.

    Staters,not necessarily of the Dobunni tribe, are often found on roman habitation sites, even those sites of the 2nd/3rd Centuries AD. Strangely though, few of these high value coins rarely feature on or among the finds registers of archaeological excavations. Whereas, detectorists are constantly finding them. I'm not sure what this discrepancy proves; perhaps detectorists have better techniques.

    Best regards

    John Howland

  2. Hi John,

    Thanks, glad you liked it.

    Find spot collecting and data are fraught with problems. Here are a couple of links where some are discussed:
    (Lost and found: the archaeology of find-spots of Celtic coins Warwick Rodwell (pp 43-52))

    Distribution patterns are also missed through bad classification (as was done with Coriosolite coins before I got hold of them):

    I am also working on another theory on how too much recording of find spots can actually obliterate evidence. That one is rather complex and deals with classification problems and rarities. It differs from what is given in the above links and owes a lot to Foucault.

    Another explanation that is less sinister than the one you might be thinking about is that most metal detecting takes place on ploughed fields and it is extremely rare (statistically speaking) for any sort of excavatable site to lie below this. With farming, it is necessary to deep-plough every few years to break up the compacted layer which is formed owing to the weight of modern farm machinery. This brings deeper finds closer to the surface where they become subject to the new dangers of agrochemicals; shallower plough blade damage; more extreme seasonal temperature changes and changes in moisture content and, again, the weight of agricultural machinery.

    Critics of metal detecting do little proper research; seem oblivious to common sense, have agendas they do not advertise, and mostly know next to nothing about the objects found; the very radical regional differences with some types of coins/artefacts and so on. Wild rants, ad hominem attacks, strange classifications of people as only "collectors" "dealers" or "detectorists" can be compared to typical tabloid reporting and it is safer to reject everything they have to say, thus. They do provide entertainment, though!



  3. Hello John:

    Jeez! Have you been on the road to Damascus? Ha ha ha ha ha! Can't fault you there mate. Me thinking sinister thoughts of archaeology...shame on you John! How could you?

    However, Dr. Henry Cleere, a former Director of the Council for British Archaeology (with whom I regularly crossed swords and could have done business with) reckoned that farmers using pan-busters ought to be severely controlled. Bloody cheek! And I told him so face to face when I represented the hobby at the NCMD. He fought his corner well. He was alright was Henry.

    I've ever only met a handful of archaeologists I respected and Henry Cleere was one of them, though God knows what he thought of me. The rest, I wouldn't urinate over even if they spontaneously combusted .

    The sad truth is, and I won't mention their names here, were they to make their true feelings about detecting and collecting known, others in their calling(?) would see to it that their mantras would be; "Would you like fries with that?"

    Corruption in archaeology is not limited to artefact theft.

    Best wishes

    John Howland

    1. Hi John,

      Importances are relative: my most popular post is "living with a coyote hybrid" with 4221 page views as of right now. The second most popular post is about the best evidence supporting my identification of the design of Alexander the Great's seal, but it only has 1104 views. Similarly, Cookbooks are not included in "best seller" stats, neither is the Bible...

      I have to laugh about claims that antiquities belong to all -- most people are completely bored by such things. If farming is less important than archaeology, we must wonder what archaeologists eat.