3. Roman coinage in Britain: c.AD 388–430

3.1 Gold

Theodosian gold coins struck between c.AD 402 and c.AD 408 at the Italian mints of Milan, Rome, Ravenna and Aquileia are mainly found in hoards. Of these hoards the most well known are those from Eye and Hoxne, in Suffolk, Boscombe Down in Wiltshire and Good Easter in Essex (Robertson 2000, no. 1620 ; Guest 2005, 134, nos 45-9; Burnett 1992; Bland 1997b; Abdy 2009a; Bland and Loriot 2010, 249). A recently discovered hoard of 159 gold solidi from near St Albans in Hertfordshire should also be added to this list (PAS record BH-D67AF4). With a terminus post quem of AD 406-8, the coins are unworn and it is quite possible that they were deposited during the chaos that engulfed the province in AD 408-9 (Thorold 2013) (The hoard will be published in a forthcoming volume of CHRB; also Money and Medals 2012).

After c.AD 410, it appears that only a very small number of gold coins found their way to Britain. Twenty-eight pieces spanning the reigns of Jovinus (AD 411-413) to Zeno (AD 476-91), including some pseudo-imperial issues or copies, have been recorded (PAS record KENT-DEF360). They tend to have been found during the excavation of Early Medieval cemeteries and their distribution is concentrated on the south-east and East Anglia. While their presence attests to continued links with the Continent, it is unlikely that these coins circulated within a currency system in 5th-century Britain. Instead, their small numbers and presence predominantly within grave deposits suggests their re-purposing as jewellery and use as bullion (Bland and Loriot 2010, 86-88).