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Plate 53     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 Silver Coins

Starfish Type    Durotrigan I    <info>

Durotrigan Uninscribed Silver Starfish Type

The starfish type appears to follow the geometric types, because it continues the zigzag pattern decorated with lines of pellets.

1270.011273.011276.011278.01

1278.01

1278 - 01    Elegant Starfish Type    35-30 B.C.    ER
Billon Fractional Unit    ca. 0.6 gms.    12 mm

Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1989

OBV: Starfish
Identifying points:
     1) as 1276 - 01

REV: zigzag and spider pattern
Identifying points:
     1) as 1276 - 01, but objects added to field
     2) ring and "V" objects near spiders

CLASSIFICATION: Durotrigan I

NOTES: The relationship of this type to the previous is uncertain, not enough                      examples exist to determine the standard weights.
                The additional objects near the spiders may indicate a change in                      denomination.

1276.01

1276 - 01    Elegant Starfish Type    35-30 B.C.    ER
Billon Unit    ca. 0.8 gms.    14 mm

Earliest Record: Van Arsdell,1989

OBV: Starfish
Identifying points:
     1) similar to 1270 - 01 but the starfish is thin and elegant
     2) the arms of the starfish split into two ends

REV: zigzag and spider pattern
Identifying points:
     1) similar to 1270 - 01 but the arms of the spiders are long and thin
     2) the field has fewer objects

CLASSIFICATION: Durotrigan I

NOTES: Possibly commoner than indicated, Badbury/Shapwick hoard contents                      not adequately recorded.

1273.01

1273 - 01    Thick Starfish Type    35-30 B.C.    S
Billon Unit    ca. 1.1 gms.    12 mm

Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1989

OBV: Starfish
Identifying points:
     1) similar to 1270 - 01 but starfish has thicker arms

REV: zigzag and spider pattern
Identifying points:
     1) similar to 1270 - 01 but spiders have six arms

CLASSIFICATION: Durotrigan I

NOTES: This type normally found struck from a damaged reverse die, with a                      cud forming at one of the spiders.
                Rarity provided via trade survey.

1270.01

1270 - 01    Starfish Type    35-30 B.C.    S
Billon Unit    ca. 1.2 gms.    13 mm

Earliest Record: Hill, 1911

OBV: Starfish
Identifying points:
     1) five armed starfish with pellet in centre
     2) lines of pellets between arms
     3) pellet-in-ring motifs in field

REV: zigzag and spider pattern
Identifying points:
     1) zigzag with lines of pellets
     2) "spider" on either side with eight arms
     3) pellet-in-ring motifs in field

CLASSIFICATION: Durotrigan I

NOTES: Possibly commoner than indicated, Badbury/Shapwick hoard contents                      not adequately recorded.

 

Durotrigan Uninscribed Silver Coins

Uncertain Thin Silver Types    Not Classified

1280.01

1280.01

1280 - 01    Thin Silver Type    65-45 B.C.    ER
Silver or Billon Unit    0.8 gms.    15 mm

Earliest Record: Bushe-Fox, 1915

OBV: Pattern of pellets
Identifying points:
     1) crude pattern of pellets possibly forming a man

REV: Celticized horse left
Identifying points:
     1) crude horse in field of pellets

CLASSIFICATION: None

NOTES: Some in museums.
                The type is unquestionably genuine, examples were
                     found during excavations at Hengistbury Head in 1911-1912.
                Modern forgeries possibly exist.

 

Durotrigan Inscribed Silver Types    "CRAB"    <info>

Durotrigan Inscribed Silver "Crab" Type

This enigmatic type is arbitrarily assigned to the Durotriges. Too few findspots are known to be certain whether it should be assigned, instead, to the territory of the Atrebates, Regni and Belgae.

No plausible explanation has been offered for the "CRAB" inscription and the proper order of the letters is uncertain. The dating of the issue is problematic.

1285.011286.01

1286.01

1286 - 01    Crab Type    10-45 A.D.    ER
Silver Minim    0.3 gms.    ca. 0.9 mm

Earliest Record: Evans, 1864

OBV: Tablet with inscription
Identifying points:
     1) CRAB in tablet
     2) "O" above
     3) "S" below

REV: Pattern
Identifying points:
     1) pellet-in-ring motif in centre
     2) six crescents around central motif to form star pattern
     3) triple pellets inside crescents
     4) pellet border

CLASSIFICATION: None

NOTES: Most in museums.
                The type was recorded by Evans, see plate on page 214 of his 1864                      work.
                Possibly Atrebatic/Regnan/Belgic in origin, or influence.
                Dating Uncertain.

1285.01

1285 - 01    Crab Type    10-45 A.D.    ER
Silver Unit    1.1 gms.    13 mm

Earliest Record: Evans, 1890

OBV: Cross with inscription
Identifying points:
     1) cross of pellets
     2) large pellet and ring in centre
     3) CRAB in angles

REV: Eagle
Identifying points:
     1) eagle faces left with head turned to face right

CLASSIFICATION: None

NOTES: Most in museums.
                Possibly Atrebatic/Regnan/Belgic in origin, or influence.
                Dating uncertain.

 

 

 

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