An interesting lot of links -- I can see that the argument for
St.Michael's Mount is not terribly strong, but on the other hand I have
a hard time with the Isle of Wight being Ictis. There are a few reasons
for my skepticism, first I have a problem with any claims that any power
was in control of a large chunk of sea/ocean at this time. How on earth
could that be possible? It's a statement I have seen applied to
My biggest problem with the Isle of Wight being Ictis is that it is way
too far from the mine source. With valuable metals, a close mine source
is essential for profit as it seems that these metals had a narrow range
of values with any profit coming from the premiums that were acceptable
and seen as transportation costs -- its not much different today, gravel
cost are really mainly transportation costs in construction.
I did track down more details on one of the Mount Batten hoards from
John Evan's _The Coins of the Ancient Britons_, 1864. He is talking
about various Armorican issues (mostly Coriosolite are illustrated in
that plate) and says that these types of coins found in Jersey were also
found at Mount Batten. At this time, there were no exact tribal
attributions and the Jersey hoards contained many different types of
Armoricam coins from pretty well all of the Armorican tribes.
When he showed what other coins were in that Mount Batten hoard, it made
me wonder about the tribal identity of who it was that was burying these
Armorican hoards. Looking at Alet - Jersey - Hengistbury, we see (in the
Le Catillon hoard) a few Durotriges coins amidst the Armorican. With
that Mount Batten hoard, we have a few Dobunni coins among the Armorican.
I had originally thought that it was the Coriosolites who were trading
and recycling these Armorican billon coins, but I'm thinking now that
the Jersey hoard features reflect that area for more geographical
reasons and that other hoard locations will reflect their specific areas
in a similar way e.g. Durotriges coins added at Jersey and Dobunni coins
added at Mount Batten.
Now I am leaning more to bringing back the Veneti as sole maritime
traders in scrap metals with unclaimed hoards really reflecting the
local areas traveled rather than reflecting who was doing the traveling.
Late Veneti coins have a curious distribution that is focused at quite a
distance from where you would expect to find them (Philip de Jersey,
1994), and it is possible, I think, that these were issued for
"mercenary" payments in the Gallic war, and their distribution area was
thus the Veneti's main recruiting area.
About twenty years ago I had a discussion with Colin Haslegrove about
the Le Catillon hoard. He thought it was buried sometime in the 3rd
quarter of the 1st cent B.C. as it contained brooch types that do not
exist in Augustan forts north of the Alps, whereas I claim that the
hoard is at least a quarter century later and is associated with both
the destruction of the port at Alet at about 10-15 A.D. and the shift
away from any semblance of silver in Durotriges coins at the same time.
So I am placing that Mount Batten hoard as equally late (recycling
operations that I now think (again) were operated by the Veneti in a
number of regions).
This "orphans" the Paul (Penzance) hoard as its contents are way too
early to be connected with the Jersey/Mount Batten hoard profiles. Stray
finds and excavated examples of the Italian Celtic issues (Insubres,
Cenomani, Veneti) in Armorica do not seem to exist and a cursory
examination of the hoards that contain Coriosolite coins in Armorica and
Jersey does not provide any more Italian issues.
What the Paul hoard was doing there is not easily explainable. I reject,
outright, that these coins were payments in trade (unless they were
treated as bullion). Trade would have to be commodity for commodity with
full ships going back and forth -- otherwise there would have been no
profit on the venture. They could have been "political tributes". They
might not have come, directly, from the Italian tribes and could have
been transmitted to England directly from Massilia instead.
About thirty years ago, Colin Orton was the curator of coins at the
Nickle Arts Museum (NAM). He had a fully equipped numismatic lab
complete with a scanning electron microscope (since looted by another
department at the University of Calgary). He tested a hoard of silver
Massilian coins and found that the silver was of Roman origin -- this
study was never published. According to Trogus, the Massilians bailed
out the Romans after Rome was captured (arranging for the ransom
payment) and this silver might then be a later Roman repayment.
Most interesting to me at the moment are the roles that the Durotriges
and Dobunni played in all of this. Coins of both tribes are found in
recycling hoards in their respective areas, so I think it likely that
they played a role in these operations. Traditionally, (although not
emphasized since Fox), the Dobunni were responsible for quite a lot of
the high status metalwork of the warrior class. The Durotriges, on the
other hand, did not have much of this stuff and instead, were mainly
interested in extracting silver from argentiferous west-country copper
and in recycling metals through the cuppelation process.
The Dobunni, were likely "go-betweens" in the metal trade with west
country copper and lead (both containing silver). Besides selling the
silver, they could have retained the base byproducts in order for their
craftsmen to have a constant supply of bronze etc.for their products.
They also occupied the upper reaches of the Thames and this was a major
route -- perhaps for people rather than goods. Now it must remain to
either establish or deny that the finial was made there by one of these
visitors -- a craftsman catering to warriors seeking new adventures and
opportunities after Italy.
Peter Northover remarks in "Materials issue in the Celtic Coinage" in
BAR (British). 222, 1992,:
"The analysis of an example found in an excavated context at Maiden
Castle further emphasizes this possibility. The composition is of a
bronze with an important cobalt impurity, with Co>>Ni and with iron.
arsenic and silver as the other significant impurities. This impurity
pattern is highly characteristic metalworking in southern Britain in the
La Tène Iron Age, and can almost certainly be associated with a copper
source in south-west England. ..."
I have written to him for more details (what fun this all is!).
On 8/14/2010 10:16, Caer Australis wrote:
> Plenty of fun with Ictis. This business of trade, the level to which it had
> developed, the development of touta in the period, and the whole business of
> internal 'celtic' affairs at the time, that had formed its tendril
> connection to the Mediterranean, is a great place to be, and will occupy
> this bunny in the next period :)
> There's good work being conducted, and great speculation, and I very much
> like the 'ownership' of Ictis along the south coast.
> Diodorus' description of transportation of tin from Cornwall via Ictis to
> the coast of France has been a point of debate, but Island historian
> Davenport Adams thought the evidence pointed to the Isle of Wight being the
> isle of Ictis.
> Cunliffe's Mount Batten
> Trade is another area where we owe a debt to archaeology. With some
> exceptions, ancient writers felt trade to be beneath them, and what literary
> evidence we have is largely imprecise and anecdotal. Archaeological finds,
> however, especially of pottery, enable us to reconstruct trade patterns.
> First published 2009 by CISMAS Penzance Cornwall
> HAMMERSEN, LAUREN ALEXANDRA MICHELLE. The Control of Tin in
> Southwestern Britain from the First Century AD to the Late Third Century AD.
> A great review of the earlier period here.
> Gotta find where the .pdf has been placed!
> Knowledge of Dumnonia between c. 500 BC and 500 AD has increased
> considerably since 1962, with consequent new emphasis in research. This
> article is wrongly titled — it should really be called 'The Iron Age and
> Roman Periods in Mid- and West Cornwall'.
> You can unsubscribe yourself by logging in on the list archives page at https://listserv.heanet.ie/cgi-bin/wa?A0=CELTIC-L&X=36DAE1476AF514EF73, selecting the 'join or leave Celtic-L' link and going through the unsubscription routine there.
"Numismatics is the window through which I look out on the past."
Derek Fortrose Allen
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