Roman coin find in Orkney thrills archaeologists


Blackleaf
#1
Archaeologists are thrilled by the discovery of a Roman coin during the excavation of an archaeological site in Orkney.

The copper alloy coin was found at the Knowe of Swandro, the location of a Neolithic chambered tomb, Iron Age roundhouses and Pictish buildings.


Roman coin find in Orkney thrills archaeologists

By Steven McKenzie
BBC Scotland Highlands and Islands reporter
17 July 2017


The coin was uncovered in a dig on Rousay in Orkney

Archaeologists are thrilled by the discovery of a Roman coin during the excavation of an archaeological site in Orkney.

The copper alloy coin was found at the Knowe of Swandro, the location of a Neolithic chambered tomb, Iron Age roundhouses and Pictish buildings.

The archaeological site is at risk from coastal erosion.

Roman finds have been made before in Orkney, and other Scottish islands including the Western Isles.

The coin found in the Knowe of Swandro dig on Rousay is believed to date from the mid 4th Century AD.

Archaeologists said the works of classical writers suggested the Romans were aware of Orkney, with the writers even making claims of an invasion, although archaeologists and historians believe this to have been unlikely.

The coin was found at the site of a small roundhouse.

Other finds from that site have been dated to about the second and fourth centuries AD.


The roundhouse where the coin was found

The Swandro-Orkney Coastal Archaeology Trust, which is leading the dig, describes itself as being in a "race against time and tide" to excavate and record the site.

Every winter fierce Atlantic gales erode more of the coastline.

The University of the Highlands and Islands and University of Bradford are among universities assisting with the archaeological work.

Dr Steve Dockerill, co-director of the project with Dr Julie Bond, said: "The bust on the coin is clearly visible although much of the lettering isn't at present clear.

"The reverse contains a standing figure, possibly representing the emperor with what might be an image of Victory at the side.

"This type of coin is similar to issues dating to the mid 4th Century AD."


Archaeo-metallurgist Dr Gerry McDonnell has been working with the team on Rousay

Archaeologists involved in the dig have also been excited by evidence of iron working and copper alloy casting in a later Pictish building.

Leading archaeo-metallurgist, Dr Gerry McDonnell, has been assisting the Orkney team with identifying metal and other items from the debris.

The most recent piece of evidence is a fired clay tuyére - this is the clay used to hold bellows in a furnace.

Roman coins have been found in other parts of Scotland which the Romans did not occupy.

Copper alloy coins dating from the middle of the 4th Century were found in a sand dune in the Western Isles 10 years ago.

The location in the Uists has been kept secret to protect the site.

Just seven other Roman coins had previously been found on the isles.

A Roman brooch and pieces of pottery have also been uncovered in the past.

Roman coin find in Orkney thrills archaeologists - BBC News
 
White_Unifier
#2
Had it been made of gold or silver, I would have suggested they put it back into circulation.
 
Blackleaf
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by White_Unifier View Post

Had it been made of gold or silver, I would have suggested they put it back into circulation.

It's not legal tender.

The pound sterling has been the legal tender in Scotland since it unified with England and Wales in 1707 and adopted their currency.
 
White_Unifier
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by Blackleaf View Post

It's not legal tender.

The pound sterling has been the legal tender in Scotland since it unified with England and Wales in 1707 and adopted their currency.

Legal tender just means the currency one must legally accept for payment. This does not prevent a person from voluntarily accepting alternative payment though. And I'd imagine few would turn down gold or silver.
 
Blackleaf
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by White_Unifier View Post

Legal tender just means the currency one must legally accept for payment. This does not prevent a person from voluntarily accepting alternative payment though. And I'd imagine few would turn down gold or silver.

So you're saying there's a chance that the cashier at my local Sainsbury's might accept a 1,700 year old Roman coin for my shopping?
 
White_Unifier
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by Blackleaf View Post

So you're saying there's a chance that the cashier at my local Sainsbury's might accept a 1,700 year old Roman coin for my shopping?

Copper? Improbable. But gold or silver?

http://www.dinarshops.com/index.cgi#resultsanchor

It would appear that some businesses in the UK do accept gold dinars and silver dirhams already.
 
Danbones
#7
The collector's value is monetizable

but would have to be "converted" by a coin collector or other "buyer"
 
Curious Cdn
#8
If they look around carefully, they may just find gold from the teeth of the hapless Romans Legionary that had it in his pocket. The Picts probably traded his bits and bobs North after they "dealt" with him.
 
Danbones
#9
After they pict through his goods you mean?
 
Curious Cdn
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by Danbones View Post

After they pict through his goods you mean?

...after they cut him up into little pieces and fed them to the buzzards.