Crisis in the Eastern Channel: the transformation in Iron Age/Celtic coinage wrought by Cæsar – David Swan

This talk examines the connection between the Iron Age/Celtic coinage of Britain and Gaul. The changes in British coinage after the conquest of Gaul have primarily been seen as an independent development or one inspired by political relationships between British elites and officials in Rome. Through the use of coin hoards and iconographic evidence, this paper demonstrates that a cross-Channel connection between the coinage of Gaul and Britain existed from the beginning of coinage in Britain. This connection continued even after the Gauls were conquered and the cross-Channel relationship remained despite changes in political circumstances. This had implications for other forms of material culture, which became tied to changes in the coinage.

David Swan has recently submitted his PhD on cross-Channel developments in Iron Age coinage at the University of Warwick. He has published a paper comparing the use of the image of the carnyx on both the Iron Age and Roman coinages, and he has worked as an intern at the British Museum and as a volunteer at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

2 thoughts on “Crisis in the Eastern Channel: the transformation in Iron Age/Celtic coinage wrought by Cæsar – David Swan

  1. David, enjoyed very much. I got a real sense of some aspects of lifestyle of these times and I suspect it shows that our habits and beliefs haven’t changed much. Thanks, Danny Wallace

  2. hi David
    A few comments from the edge of Armorica. I don’t believe in the trade through Jersey hypothesis – there is precious little evidence of late Iron Age/early Roman trade in Jersey, substantially less than in Guernsey and now Alderney. As I have repeatedly argued, Jersey was avoided because it’s very hard indeed to sail to/from/around safely, or at least harder than the other islands. Of course it could be absence of evidence, but unless you can find some of that evidence I am sticking with the theory of Gsy/Alderney for the relatively pro-Roman trade route, and Jersey for the Celtic diehards, to simplify the situation – see my paper in Fitzpatrick and Haselgrove’s ‘Julius Caesar’s Battle for Gaul’ (2019). A few other points of contention: to say that hoards of the size of Le Catillon II are ‘not so unusual’ in the region is odd – it is six times as big as the next one (La Marquanderie, also on Jersey), and probably forty or fifty times bigger than any *confirmed* find on the French mainland. There are not ‘lots of other hoards in the thousands and ten thousands of coins’; the first Le Catillon hoard was about 3,000 coins, not 10,000.

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