This latest book in the ’50 Finds’ series from the Portable Antiquities Scheme is the first to focus on a specific artefact type rather than on a region or period. Roman coinage is a fitting choice for this new approach, as it represents by far the largest single category recorded by the PAS, with more than 324,000 individual coin finds and almost as many again from hoards, making up almost a quarter of the whole PAS dataset.
The coinage offers important insights into the growth of an extensive unified currency system in Roman Britain and the ways in which people responded to this, as well as providing a wealth of information about the changing socio-political situation over time, thanks to the imagery used on coins to communicate everything from religious affiliations to military victories.
The examples selected in this succinct and engaging publication range from the extraordinary to the everyday, but all tell an important story about Roman Britain, covering topics from identity and religion to the economy and Britannia’s links with the wider Roman Empire.
50 Finds of Roman Coinage: objects from the Portable Antiquities Scheme, Andrew Brown, Amberley Publishing, £15.99, ISBN 978-1445696331. Review by AB.