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Plate 4     Cantian Coinage    <info>

 

The Cantii and Other Kentish Tribes

Caesar named four Celtic rulers in Kent, implying several tribcs inhabited the area. The Kentish tribes, he declared, were amongst the most advanced in all Britain. His testimony is supported by the coin evidence the Kentish coinages are amongst the most sophisticated of all those in Britain.

Beginning about 125 B.C., the tribes along the Kentish coast received the first imports of continental coins. Within fifty years, a money economy existed to the extent that small-value coins were needed to facilitate trade. The first coins produced in Britain, starting about 100 B.C., were the Kentish CAST BRONZES. These reveal a remarkable knowledge of casting techniques and show how the Celts applied their innovative spirit to practical manufacturing problems.

Imports of gold staters and quarters allowed the Kentish tribes to forestall striking their own gold coins, and it was not until after the Gallic War they produced their first die-struck coins. When production began, however, a number of types were produced simultaneously, suggesting more than one tribe inhabited the region.

Around 30 B.C., Dubnovellaunus-in-Kent struck the first inscribed staters, these were later replaced by coins inscribed Vosenos. Sometime after 10 B.C. Vosenos disappears and Atrebatic/Regnan types appear with the name Eppillus. An Atrebatic/Regnan incursion appears likely, lured by the absence of a strong Trinovantian/Catuvellaunian leader to prevent it. Previously, small numbers of Trinovantian/Catuvelluanian coins appeared in Kent, suggesting Tasciovanus had been extending his economic influence over the area.

Sometime after 10 A.D.. Eppillus was driven from Kent and the region came under the direct influence of the Trinovantes/Catuvellauni. At this time, local coinage was suppressed by Cunobeline and Trinovantian/Catuvellaunian coins became the only circulating medium in Cantian territory. Shortly before the Claudian invasion, a Kentish coinage reappears in the name of Amminius. a leader who evidently seized control after the death of Cunobeline. This final coinage was short-lived, ending when the Romans invaded in 43 A.D.

Cast Bronzes    <info>    Prototype Period    Cantian A    <info>

Prototype Period ca. 100 B.C.

These were the first coins manufactured in Britain, the images were adapted directly from the cast bronzes of Masillia. At first, the images were produced using mother-coins. This technique was immediately changed to speed up production—the image was then scribed into the mould with a stylus. The coins of the Prototype Period were thick and dumpy, and evidently unacceptable to the Kentish tribes.

The Cast Bronzes of Kent

The Cast Bronzes were produced for sixty-five years, and most of the time the aesthetic qualities were carefully controlled. In general, cast coins tend to become thick and dumpy in appearance and this posed a problem. The Kentish tribes wanted their coins to be more anesthetically pleasing. Casting large, thin coins posed many technical problems and so the success the moneyers achieved is a tribute to their metal-working expertise. All the coins were cast in chains using clay moulds with a runner system connecting the cavities. The methods used to manufacture' the moulds changed over time as the workers perfected their techniques.


For most of the series, the images were scribed freehand into the clay moulds. Traditionally, these images have been used to establish a type sequence widely used in archaeological work. Today however, the coins are seen to be mass-produced items. The stylus work was done as quickly as possible and thus the images provide little basis for establishing the sequence.

A better indicator of types are the marks produced by the different mould manufacturing processes. These yield a plausible chronological sequence, consequently, the following catalogue is primarily concerned with the mould manufacturing techniques. The images are taken into account only when major differences in artistic style are noted. For example, at some point the images on the reverse switch from curvilinear forms to boxy ones. The change may indicate the appearance of a new moneyer or a modification to the coining techniques .
The first three periods of manufacture occurred quickly and in rapid succession, as the moneyers sought the best production methods. After the techniques were perfected, an enormous number of coins were produced over a long period. Quantities of hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions) are thought to have been cast and several thousand examples exist today.

102.01104.01105.01

105.01

105 - 01    Abstract Bull Type    ca. 100 B.C     ER
Cast Bronze    18 mm

Earliest Record: Mack, 1964

OBV: Celticized head of Apollo left
Identifying points:
     1) as 104-1

REV: Celticized bull charging left
Identifying points:
     1) as 104-1, but bull faces opposite direction

CLASSIFICATION: Cantian A

NOTES: This type was directly derived from 102-1.

 

104.01

104 - 01    Abstract Bull Type    ca. 100 B.C.    ER
Cast Bronze    ca. 2.6 gms.    20 mm

Earliest Mention: Van Arsdell, 18986b

OBV: Celticized head of Apollo left
Identifying points:
     1) head now scribed—in with a stylus, but an attempt made to produce a life-like           image

REV: Celticized bull charging right
Identifying points:
     1) same stylus technique used

CLASSIFICATION: Cantian A

102.01

102 - 01    Life-Like Bull Type    ca. 100 B.C.     ER
Cast Bronze    ca. 2.2 gms.     18 mm

Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1986b

OBV: Celticized head of Apollo left
Identifying points:
     1) head relatively naturalistic

REV: Celticized bull charging right
Identifying points:
     1) relatively life like bull charging right
     2) pellet on body of bull

CLASSIFICATION: Cantian A

NOTES: This is the earliest extant coin manufactured in
                       Britain.
                The parting line around the edge and the sprues (casting tabs)                        indicate a casting process was used.
                A mother-coin was used to produce the image in the mould.
                This type was copied directly from the cast coinage of Masillia.

 

Cast Bronzes    Experimental Period    Cantian B    <info>

Experimental Period ca. 100 B.C.

The mould production method was again changed—a smooth dowel was now pressed into the wet clay to produce the cavity. The sprues and the image were then scribed in with a blunt stylus. Manufacturing problems in the Experimental Period were severe. The moulds did not mate very well, allowing metal to squeeze out and produce 'flash'. Misalignment of the moulds during casting produced an offset between the obverses and reverses. Furthermore, the coins still had a thick, dumpy feel because they were thinner only at the edges.

106.01108.01108.03110.01110.03

110.03

110 - 03    Sprue Experiment Type    ca. 100 B.C.     ER
Cast Bronze    ca. 1.9 gms.    18 mm

Earliest Record: Allen, 1971

OBV: Crude head of Apollo left
Identifying points:
     1) head scribed in such a sloppy manner as to be barely recognizable
     2) normal sprue width

REV: Celticized bull
Identifying points:
     1) bull scribed in a sloppy manner
     2) normal sprue width

CLASSIFICATION: Cantian B

NOTES: Normal sprue (casting tab) width.
                Experimental type—attempt to use a smaller sprue to ease the                       separation of the coins from one another, this coin may represent                       the 'control' for the experiment— because it has the normal sprue                       width, but the same style as the thin sprue type.

110.01

110 - 01    Sprue Experiment Type    ca. 100 B.C.    ER
Cast Bronze    ca. 1.9 gms.    18 mm

Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1986b

OBV: Crude head of Apollo left
Identifying points:
     1) head scribed in such a crude manner as to be barely recognizable

REV: Celticized bull
Identifying points:
     1) bull scribed in such a crude manner as to be unrecognizable

CLASSIFICATION: Cantian B

NOTES: Sprue (casting tab) width only 3.5 mm.
               Experimental type—attempt to use a smaller sprue to ease the                      separation of the coins from one another
.

108.03

108 - 03    Curved Bull Type    ca. 100 B.C.    ER
Cast Bronze ca. 1.7 gms. 19 mm

Earliest Record: Allen, 1971

OBV: Celticized head of Apollo left
Identifying points:
     1) as 106-1, but head faces opposite direction
     2) line runs vertically through neck

REV: Celticized bull charging right
Identifying points:
     1) as 106-1

CLASSlFlCATION: Cantian B

NOTES: As 106-1.

108.01

108 - 01    Curved Bull Type    ca. 100 B.C.    ER
Cast Bronze ca. 1.7 gms. 19 mm

Earliest Record: Mack, 1953

OBV: Celticized head of Apollo left
Identifying points:
     1) as 106-1, but head faces opposite direction

REV: Celticized bull charging right
Identifying points:
     1) same linear style as obverse
     2) lines of the bull are curved

CLASSIFICATION : Cantian B

NOTES: As 106-1.

106.01

106 - 01    Curved Bull Type    ca. 100 B.C.    ER
Cast Bronze    18 mm

Earliest mention: Mack, 1953

OBV: Celticized head of Apollo right
Identifying points:
     1) head now comprised of lines, no attempt at life like reproduction

REV: Celticized bull charging right
Identifying points:
     1) same linear style as obverse
     2) lines of bull are curved

CLASSIFICATION: Cantian B

NOTES: The coin is thicker at the edges than at the centre because of the                       scribed edge-circle.
                Occasionally a coin will have an obverse cavity of a different diameter                       than the reverse. The upper surface of the mould is then imaged at                       the edge of the coin on the smaller diameter side. This is smooth,                       indicating a scraping motion was not used to produce the mating                       surfaces.

 

Cast Bronzes    Innovative Period    Cantian C    <info>

Innovative Period 100 B.C. to 90 B.C.

The moneyers worked to eliminate the problems during the Innovative Period. Various techniques of producing the cavity-and-runner system were tried and experiments to create smooth mating-surfaces were carried out—all producing striations in the coins' fields. Four types of striations have been identified: CROSSED, MEDIUM, HEAVY and THIN, each revealing a different technique of mould production.

The Crossed Striations were produced by textile pressed into the clay to form the cavity and runner system. Medium Striations were the result of cutting a block of clay in two with a wire in an attempt to produce perfectly-mating moulds. Heavy Striations were produced by pressing the clay against a wooden surface to smooth it. None of these techniques was particularly successful— either excessive flash resulted or the striations were so severe the stylus image was ruined.

The Thin Striation coins are the commonest, because the technique was more successful and was employed for a longer time. These were produced by smoothing the clay with a flat scraper.

112.01112.01 another114.01115.01117.01117.03 New

112.01

112 - 01    Crossed Striations Type    ca. 100 B.C.    ER
Cast Bronze    ca. 1.7 gms.    18 mm

Earliest Record: Wild, 1966

OBV: Celticized head of Apollo left
Identifying points:
1) ring-and-pellet motif in centre of head

REV: Celticized bull charging left
Identifying points:
1) bull made up of curved lines

CLASSIFICATION: Cantian C

NOTES: Equally-thin striations cross at ninety degree angles in the                       coin's field.
                The striations may appear on both sides, but are normally                       more pronounced on one side.
                These striations were once thought to be the result of the use                       of papyrus, but this has been disproved the pattern is not                       correct for papyrus.
                The pattern was produced by textile, pressed into the clay to                       produce the cavity system.

117.03 New

117 - 03    Heavy Striations Type    ca. 100 B.C.    ER
Cast Bronze    ca. 2.1 gms.    19 mm

Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1993

OBV: Celticized head of Apollo right
Identifying points:
     1) outline head of Apollo

REV: Celticized bull charging right
Identifying points:
     1) bull made up of curved lines

CLASSIFICATION: Cantian C

NOTES: Striations normally appear on only one side of coin.
               Striations are not so deep, but are broad and not necessarily parallel.
               The striations were produced by wood pressed against the clay to                     smooth it. This type vindicates Evans' 1864 assertion that wood was                     used in the mould making process.

117.01

117 - 01    Heavy Striations Type    ca. 100 B.C.    ER
Cast Bronze    ca. 2.1 gms.    19 mm

Earliest Record: Evans, 1855

OBV: Celticized head of Apollo left
Identifying points:
     1) outline head of Apollo

REV: Celticized bull charging left
Identifying points:
     1) bull made up of curved lines

CLASSIFICATION: Cantian C

NOTES: Striations normally appear on only one side of coin.
                Striations are not so deep, but are broad and not necessarily parallel.
                The striations were produced by wood pressed against the clay to                       smooth it. This type vindicates Evans' 1864 assertion that wood                       was used in the mould making process.

115.01

115 - 01    Medium Striations Type    ca. 100 B.C.    ER
Cast Bronze    19 mm

Earliest Record: Mack, 1953

OBV: Celticized head of Apollo right
Identifying points:
     1) as 114 - 01, but head faces the opposite direction

REV: Celticized bull charging left
Identifying points:
     1) as 114 - 01, but bull faces the opposite direction

CLASSIFICATION: Cantian C

NOTES: As 114 - 01

114.01

114 - 01    Medium Striations Type    ca. 100 B.C.    ER
Cast Bronze    ca. 1.9 gms.     19 mm

Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1986b

OBV: Celticized head of Apollo right
Identifying points:
     1) outline head, usually marred by striations

REV: Celticized bull charging right
Identifying points:
     1) bull made up of curved lines, image often marred by striations

CLASSIFICATION: Cantian C

NOTES: Striations appear on both sides of the coin, and those on one side are                       parallel to those on the other side.
                The striations are deep and fairly heavy, with blobs of metal                       interrupting them. They are often so severe they ruin the image or                       create a flash problem.
                The striations run into the flash, indicating they were produced                       independently of the cavity-formation process.
                The moulds were produced by cutting a block of clay in two with a                      wire—the striations are the result of the cutting process.

112.01 another

112 - 01     Crossed Striations Type    ca. 100 B.C.    ER
Cast Bronze    ca. 1.7 1gms.    18 mm

Earliest Record: Wild, 1966

OBV: Celticized head of Apollo left
Identifying points:
     1) ring-and-pellet motif in centre of head

REV: Celticized bull charging left
Identifying points:
     1) bull made up of curved lines

CLASSIFICATION: Cantian C

NOTES: Equally-thin striations cross at ninety degree angles in the coin's field.
                The striations may appear on both sides, but are normally more                       pronounced on one side.
                These striations were once thought to be the result of the use of                       papyrus, but this has been disproved, the pattern is not correct for                       papyrus.
                The pattern was produced by textile, pressed into the clay to produce                       the cavity system.

 

          

 

 

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