1. Introduction

When archaeologists investigate the 'end' of Roman Britain, they are usually interested in addressing two fundamental questions: when did it happen and how? While most acknowledge that it would be a somewhat misguided quest to search for a specific date or a particular cause (Esmonde-Cleary 2011, 1), it is clear that numismatic evidence can make an important contribution to our knowledge of the late Roman to Early Medieval transition. The perceived status of coins as closely dated objects has thrust numismatic evidence into the limelight in a world where pottery and other forms of Roman material culture are either lacking or frustratingly undiagnostic (Rivet 1964, 97; Kent 1978; Frere 1987, 363; Millett 1990, 219; Esmonde Cleary 1989, 14; Mattingly 2006, 330 passim). However, coinage can be used as much more than just a tool for dating late Roman contexts. As the primary mechanism for paying the army and administration and as a medium for the collection of taxation, the presence or absence of coinage in the archaeological record may serve as an indicator of the status and stability of the diocese itself.