Download Coins and Power in Late Iron Age Britain (New Studies in by John Creighton PDF

By John Creighton

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Extra resources for Coins and Power in Late Iron Age Britain (New Studies in Archaeology)

Sample text

The idea of wild horses would suit the concept of the man/horse marriage being a metaphor for the union between man and nature. The exceptional activity of eating horse-Xesh would correlate with the kind of image portrayed by the Irish sources. But Gussage All Saints is only one site; what do other sites suggets? At Danebury virtually all the horse skeletal material also belonged to adults: only remains from two individuals had unfused bones, and these belonged to the late occupation of the site.

I would suggest that the man/horse image on prestige lumps of metal was a deliberately conceived symbol, enshrining the concept of the right to rule, or more plainly the concept of sacral kingship. It is therefore to the arrival of coinage that we must now turn. The origin of coin in northern Europe The image on the majority of coins from north-west Europe derived from the gold staters of Philip II of Macedon (359–336 BC), depicting the head of Apollo on the obverse and a two-horse chariot on the reverse.

I would suspect that Gallo-Belgic A–C had been present here, but the propitiatory traditions which led to the larger-scale deposition of metalwork elsewhere only gradually spread into this area. So coinage arrived, but how did people react to this new medium? Here it is worth examining Gallo-Belgic B a little more closely. Their original description as ‘GalloBelgic coins’ by Allen is a slight misnomer. Whereas the quarter staters of GalloBelgic B are found in approximately equal numbers on either side of the channel, the staters are only securely provenanced in Britain (Fitzpatrick 1997:7).

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