Connect with us

Archaeology

Ancient coins reveal cross channel connections between England and Europe

Published

on

An analysis of 49 silver coins minted in England, Belgium, the Netherlands and France, has revealed the cross channel connections that occurred during the 7th and 8th centuries AD.

At the time, there was a surge in the use of silver coinage in north-west Europe, which according to a new study published in the journal Antiquity, came from two distinct sources.

“There has been speculation that the silver came from Melle in France, or from an unknown mine, or that it could have been melted down church silver,” says co-author of the research, Professor Rory Naismith from the University of Cambridge. “But there wasn’t any hard evidence to tell us one way or the other, so we set out to find it.”

To trace the origins, a team from the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, conducted a chemical analysis of 49 silver coins in the collection at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

The study revealed that the earlier coins, which date from AD 660-750, had origins in the eastern Mediterranean, suggesting that they were likely melted down silverware from the Byzantine Empire.

“It’s fair to say we were surprised by this result” states lead author Dr Jane Kershaw from the University of Oxford. “We know of some surviving Byzantine silver from Anglo-Saxon England, most famously from Sutton Hoo, but far greater amounts of Byzantine silver must have originally been held in Anglo-Saxon stores. Connections between Byzantium and Anglo-Saxon England were closer than most people think.”

“This was quantitative easing, elites were liquidating silver stored in valuable objects and using that silver to make coins that then circulated widely” Dr Kershaw continues. “It would have had a big impact on people’s lives. Far more people than before would have used coined money and thought in terms of monetary values.”

In contrast, the silver used for the later coins, dating from AD 750-820, were sourced from Melle, in Aquitaine, France, around the time of Charlemagne and the Carolingian Empire.

The authors suggest that Charlemagne precipitated a sudden and extensive increase in Melle silver by asserting tighter control over the production of coins within his kingdom. A comprehensive account from the 860s delineates how Charlemagne’s grandson, King Charles the Bald, reformed coinage by providing each mint with a small amount of silver as an initial fund to initiate the process.

“I strongly suspect that Charlemagne did something similar with Melle silver,” says Professor Naismith.

Importantly, this highlights the efforts made by early medieval rulers to regulate their economies and displays England’s, specifically the kingdom of Mercia’s, dependence on French silver.

Header Image Credit : Antiquity

Sources : Antiquity | https://doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2024.33

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

Continue Reading

Archaeology

Study reveals new insights into life at “German Stonehenge”

Published

on

By

Excavations of the Ringheiligtum Pömmelte, nicknamed the “German Stonehenge”, has revealed new insights into domestic life from prehistory.

Ringheiligtum Pömmelte is a late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age henge from the late third millennium BC. The monument features seven concentric rings made of palisades, ditches, and raised banks, each containing a series of wooden posts.

The site was discovered in 1991 through aerial photography near the present-day village of Pömmelte in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

From 2018 to 2022, archaeologists have excavated nearly 140 ancient dwellings dating from 2,800 BC to 2,200 BC. The older dwellings are linked to the Corded Ware and the Bell Beaker culture, while the more recent ones are associated with the Únětice Culture.

In a recent study conducted by the State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology (LDA) of Saxony-Anhalt, archaeologists are employing various scientific methods to offer new insights into the site’s ritual and settlement landscape.

The study has identified house locations of the Corded Ware culture (26th to 23rd century BC), and an associated settlement pit containing ceramic sherds, an axe head and flint blades. Until now, Corded Ware settlement could only be attributed to individual finds that had been relocated, and not to actual structures on the site.

Also associated with the Corded Ware culture is a storage area with 78 grain silo pits that held various types of gain, including wheat, barley, and spelt. Archaeologists already know that Corded Ware people lived on a balanced diet with animal products, further indicated by drinking vessels from burials at Ringheiligtum Pömmelte that contained traces of dairy products.

While the scientific analyses and the interpretation of the results with various specialists continue, excavations at Pömmelte will last until mid-July 2024.

Header Image Credit : Shutterstock

Sources : State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

Continue Reading

Archaeology

3,400-year-old shipwreck found with cargo mostly intact

Published

on

By

Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority Marine Unit have discovered a 3,400-year-old shipwreck with the cargo mostly intact.

The site was first identified during an underwater survey by Energean, an energy company searching for natural gas deposits beneath the Mediterranean Sea Floor.

This led to the discovery of the shipwreck and its cargo at a depth of 1.8 kilometers, along with its cargo that consists of Late Bronze Age Canaanite storage vessels.

IAA archaeologists, in collaboration with Energean, have used the deep sea exploratory vessel, “Energean Star” to conduct a visual inspection of the wreck site. This has revealed hundreds of ceramic vessels on the seabed, and a muddy layer which likely conceals a second layer and the wooden beams of the ship.

Jacob Sharvit, Head of the Israel Antiquities Authority Marine Unit, explains, “The ship seems to have sunk in crisis, either due to a storm or to an attempted piracy attack – a well-known occurrence in the Late Bronze Age. This is both the first and the oldest ship found in the Eastern Mediterranean deep sea, ninety kilometres from the nearest shore.”

Image Credit : IAA

Only two other ships from this period have been found – the boat from Cape Gelidonya and the Uluburun boat; both found off the Turkish coast. Both ships were found near the shore, suggesting that shipping routes followed the coastline between ports. However, this new discovery changes the understanding of ancient marine trade, demonstrating that ancient shipping also extended into deep waters.

“The ship is preserved at such a great depth that time has frozen since the moment of disaster – its body and contexts have not been disturbed by human hand (divers, fishermen, etc.); nor affected by waves and currents which do impact shipwrecks in shallower waters,” added Sharvit.

Header Image Credit : IAA

Sources : Israel Antiquities Authority

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

Continue Reading

Trending

Generated by Feedzy