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Plate 50     Durotriges    <info 1>    < 2 >

Page 2

Whether the Durotriges went to a silver standard because of the preferences of their Armorican partners, or because they simply ran out of gold bullion, is uncertain. Their trading contacts used mostly silver coins, and by the time of the Gallic War were using them exclusively. After the defeat of the Venetic Fleet and conquest of Armorica by the Romans, the Durotriges ran out of bullion of all types, because their trade with the continent was cut off. They had already been excluded from the British trading network by strong competition from the Atrebates/Regni and Trinovantes/Catuvellauni. Durotrigan silver coins ceased about 30 B.C., and were replaced by struck bronze staters of increasingly crude style. The silver fractional denominations disappeared entirely.

A series of cast bronzes follows, starting probably in the first century A.D., and known mostly from two large hoards. A small number of extremely rare silver coins carrying the inscription CRAB are found in Durotrigan territory. Although these pieces appear Atrebatic/Regnan in style, they have been attributed traditionally to the Durotriges because of the findspots.
The Durotrigan coinage would have come to an end in the mid-forties A.D. as Vespasian's legions overran the tribal territory. The tribe offered difficult resistance to the Roman invasion and their coinage would have been ruthlessly suppressed. Durotrigan coins are sometimes found in surprisingly late hoards of Roman pieces, but probably these represented curiosities at the time of deposit.

The site of the Durotrigan mint has never been located with certainty, and several mints may have been in operation. One likely place was the trading port at Hengistbury. Some of the rare varieties of billon staters may have been irregular issues, struck by local authorities.
The moneyers produced flans by the 'Flat Rock' method, pouring molten metal directly on a smooth surface. Some of the coins display splash appendages produced during the flan pouring operation. The Durotriges learned the technique from Armorican moneyers, whose coins also show the appendages. The early gold and silver coins were well-struck, but the later billon ones were hastily produced in enormous numbers and were consequently less well made. The manufacturing methods for the cast coins have never been studied, and represent an opportunity for original research.

A number of plated forgeries of silver staters are known and sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between plated cores and struck bronzes. Conceivably, all struck bronzes may originally have been silver coated.

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The Coinage of the Durotriges

The Durotriges occupied all of Dorset, parts of Somerset, Wiltshire and Hampshire. They had extensive trading contacts with the Armorican peninsula and consequently their coinage was unlike that of the other British tribes. Armorican coins were primarily silver and billon, and the bulk of the Durotrigan coinage was made of these metals instead of gold.

After their first issues, the Durotriges ignored the mainstream of British coinage, suggesting they were economically isolated. Moreover, their coins circulated less and less beyond the tribal boundaries as time went on, and as the tribe's isolation increased.

Initially however, the Durotrigan coinage was an integral part of the economy of southern Britain. Their first coins were inspired by those of the Atrebates/Regni and these did circulate beyond the tribal borders. The CHUTE TYPE, a gold stater first struck about 65 B.C., was adapted from the Westerham Type of the Atrebates/Regni/Belgae. The Durotrigan moneyers evidently struck the staters using the correct alloy and standard weight at the outset. The Atrebatic/Regnan/Belgic influence was short lived, however, for the tribe had converted to an Armorican-style silver coinage by the middle of the Gallic War.

At the beginning of the Gallic War, the Durotriges did two divergent things to their gold coinage. First, they struck a series of gold staters of increasingly lighter weight and lower gold content. The Chute Type was replaced by the CHUTE-CHERITON TRANSITIONAL TYPE and finally the CHERITON TYPE.

One Cheriton Type Stater has been analyzed metallurgically, and has been found to have a high tin content. This suggests the Durotriges were debasing their gold staters with addition of bronze to the alloy. The Cheriton staters perhaps represented an emergency attempt to maintain a gold coinage for trade with the other British tribes. If this was the case, the attempt failed because production soon stopped.

The second change to the coinage was the introduction of a Westerham Type copy in white gold, which rapidly became debased to silver, billon and ultimately bronze. These coins, although occasionally found outside the tribe's territory, were primarily used in the Durotrigan economy since no other tribe used such coins. The series was long-lived, with many types issued in succession. The silver stater and its billon descendants are accompanied by fractional denominations.

Continued….

Durotrigan Uninscribed Gold Coins    <info>

 

Chute Type    Durotrigan A

1205.011205.051205.071205.09

1205.09

1205 - 09    Chute Type    65-55 B.C.    ER
Gold Stater    6.2 gms.    19 mm

Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1989

OBV: Abstract head of Apollo right
Identifying points:
     1) as 1205-1

REV: disjointed horse left
Identifying points:
     1) as 1205-1, but three rows of small pellets near 'coffee bean'

CLASSIFICATION: Durotrigan A

NOTES Some in museums.
               Standard weight given.
               Addition of rows of small pellets may indicate change in metal-content,                     but metallurgical analyses have not been conducted to verify this.

1205.07

1205 - 07    Chute Type    65-55 B.C.    ER
Gold Stater    6.2 gms.    17 mm

Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1989

OBV: Abstract head of Apollo right
Identifying points:
     1) as 1205 - 01

REV: disjointed horse left
Identifying points:
     1) as 1205 - 01, but row of small pellets near "coffee bean"

CLASSIFICATION: Durotrigan A

NOTES Some in museums.
               Standard weight given.
               Addition of row of small pellets to reverse may indicate a change in                     metal-content, but metallurgical analyses have not been conducted                     to verify this.

1205.05

1205 - 05    Chute Type    65-55 B.C.    C
Gold Stater    6.2 gms.    19 mm

Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1989

OBV: Abstract head of Apollo right
Identifying points:
     1) as 1205 - 01

REV: disjointed horse left
Identifying points:
     1) as 1205 - 01, but pellets are added to the ends of the crab's arms

CLASSIFICATION: Durotrigan A

NOTES Some in museums.
               Standard weight given.
               Addition of the pellets to the arms is believed to be privy mark                     indicating a reduction in the gold content.
               Metallurgical analyses of two coins show a reduction from 35.93 to                     30.61 per cent with the change in type.

1205.01

1205 - 01    Chute Type    65-55 B.C.    C
Gold Stater    6.2 gms.    19 mm

Earliest Record: Evans, 1864

OBV: Abstract head of Apollo right
Identifying points:
     1) spike with long crescent
     2) wreath: leaves downwards

REV: disjointed horse left
Identifying points:
     1) "crab" comprised of pellet with four wavy arms below horse
     2) second "crab" or "bug" comprised of oval pellet with five arms above horse
     3) "coffee bean" motif with arms above tail
     4) reverse spiral below horse's head

CLASSIFICATION: Durotrigan A

NOTES: Some in museums.
               Modern forgeries known, not illustrated.
               Standard weight given.

Durotrigan Gold Coinage

The first gold coins were struck after the appearance of the Westerham Type of the Atrebates. The Durotrigan adaptation replaced the pellet below the horse with a crab-like object, and placed a "bug" above the animal. These coins were gradually replaced with more debased types, probably intended for external trade in Britain. The tribe's internal coinage became entirely silver around the middle of the Gallic War.

The earliest gold pieces are reasonably common today, not because they were struck in large quantities, but rather because of several hoards found the last century, one near Chute.

There have been recent attempts to reassign these coins to the territory of the Atrebates/Regni/Belgae, but the evidence is doubtful.

 

Chute-Cheriton Transitional and Cheriton Types    Durotrigan C & D

Chute Cheriton Transitional1210.01BlankCheriton1215.01

1215.01

1215 - 01    Cheriton Type    ca. 55 B.C.    R
Gold Stater    ca. 5.1 gms.    18 mm

Earliest Record: Evans, 1890

OBV: Abstract head of Apollo right
Identifying points:
     1) double spike
     2) uppermost spike has large solid crescent terminal from which small lines          emanate downwards
     3) "snaffle-bit" to left of crescent
     4) wreath: leaves outwards

REV: disjointed horse left
Identifying points:
     1) neck and body form continuous line
     2) corded mane
     3) "crab" with four curved arms below horse
     4) multiple tails, four or possibly more.

CLASSIFICATION: Durotrigan D

NOTES: Most are in museums.
                Very base metal and light weight.
                Date may continue to 50 B.C. High tin percentage suggests                       melted-down cast bronzes were added to debase the alloy.
                The number of pellets between the horse's rear legs varies from one to                       three—possibly indicating a change in metal-content.
                Modern forgery known, see 1215 - 01F.

1210.01

1210 - 01    Chute-Cheriton Transitional Type  ca. 55 B.C.  ER
Gold Stater    ca. 6.2 gms.    18 mm

Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1989

OBV: Abstract head of Apollo right
Identifying points:
     1) spike with long crescent
     2) wreath: leaves upwards

REV: disjointed horse left
Identifying points:
     1) horse has long neck
     2) outline teardrop between head and neck
     3) "crab" comprised of pellet with four curved arms below horse

CLASSIFICATION: Durotrigan C

NOTES: The weight given is the approximate standard weight, not enough                       examples exist to determine it accurately.
                This type contains less gold and more copper than the Chute Type                       stater.
                The change in the laurel leaves' direction probably signals the                       reduction in intrinsic value.

 

Yarmouth Type    Durotrigan B

1220.011220.01 another

1220.01 another

1220 - 01    Yarmouth Type    65-55 B.C.    ER
Gold Staters    6.1-6.3 gms.    20 mm

Earliest Record: Evans, 1890

OBV: Celticized head of Apollo right
Identifying points:
     1) wreath: leaves upwards
     2) hook of spike ends in tripod

REV: Disjointed horse right
Identifying points:
     1) front leg of horse ends in large wind flower

CLASSIFICATION: Durotrigan B

NOTES: Typical weight given.
                It is uncertain whether this is a Durotrigan or                      Atrebatic/Regnan/Belgic coin, it most likely is Durotrigan .
               Most are in museums.
               Possibly dates to the middle of the Gallic War.

1220.01

1220 - 01    Yarmouth Type    65-55 B.C.    ER
Gold Staters    6.1-6.3 gms.    20 mm

Earliest Record: Evans, 1890

OBV: Celticized head of Apollo right
Identifying points:
     1) wreath: leaves upwards
     2) hook of spike ends in tripod

REV: Disjointed horse right
Identifying points:
     1) front leg of horse ends in large wind flower

CLASSIFICATION: Durotrigan B

NOTES: Typical weight given.
                It is uncertain whether this is a Durotrigan or                      Atrebatic/Regnan/Belgic coin, it most likely is Durotrigan .
               Most are in museums.
               Possibly dates to the middle of the Gallic War.

 

 

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