Author Topic: Very interesting (early medieval?) Coin  (Read 513 times)

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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Very interesting (early medieval?) Coin
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2019, 11:21:42 AM »
Thank you, Kadan. That provided inspiration. I now think that it is an item of decoration.

Most of the images you show look like clutching at straws to me.

The exception is the (silver, I presume) coin you show in reply #12 of this thread. No legend, cross-crosslet device. I can imagine a situation where a metal worker was asked to make an item of decoration. The metal worker may well have been a Norseman, who remembered, but did not have this coin. He did not remember the other side and made something up. Mind that this is just speculation, but it works as a scenario.

I note that in your sources, similar items were grave gifts. Usually, graves can be identified as such. They are marked, they contain pottery, they are within the ruins of a monastry etc. I suspect that the treasure was isolated, i.e. no signs of a structure around or near it. Take into account that gold was scarce and usually the property of high nobility, royalty and top church officials and that the item looks like it did not circulate.

Let me propose an alternative scenario: the item was used in the foundation of a church. This was a time when royals and high nobility were supposed to found religious institutions. I am asking you to imagine such a situation.

A high nobleman (or perhaps a high church official) has decided to found a church on what was at least since Roman times, maybe even before, a holy spot, where people would sometimes offer a coin. He puts his soldiers to work. They cut trees, and plan to use wattle and daub to come up with an acceptable construction. The plan is to mark the involvement of the nobleman with a coin, buried below the foundation of the church. This is in accordance with a long tradition that was continued for many more centuries. Problem being that our nobleman doesn't have a suitable coin. He has a few slivers of gold, but they look undignified. He is told of a heathen local smith, who does some nice work. The smith is told to make the piece look decidedly Christian. Your item ensues. It is buried in a founding ceremony according to plan. The biological mass that constitutes the church falls apart in due time, leaving no trace. Only the item remains, among some coins from an earlier period.

Again, no evidence, but it is a scenario that fits the facts and the seventh century. The main argument against the scenario is that the nobleman would have wanted some indication of his name or rank on the coin. Maybe that didn't happen because in the circumstances, nobody was literate enough? Or maybe there are heraldic elements on the side opposite the cross?

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Very interesting (early medieval?) Coin
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2019, 11:41:35 AM »
Just for fun, compare this thread.

Also, here is another straw to clutch ;) Spink 1104, Northern Mercia, in the name of Aethelstan (924-939).

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.