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Secrets of the Stores: Roman coins

1 December 2018 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

A bronze coin with a portrait of Claudius I

A coin of the Emperor Claudius I

The museum has a large collection of coins and tokens. Many of them are Roman and have been found at Baldock, usually in excavations. We collect them not for their financial value – many of them have very little such value – but for what they can tell us about the past. Older generations of archaeologists used them mostly as a means of dating the deposits where they were found, but this has often proved inaccurate as coins could continue in circulation long after they were minted. Instead, we can learn about the economy of the Roman Empire, as silver coins were debased and new types established only to be debased again, as bronze coins became smaller and smaller during the fourth century and how coinage vanished altogether by the middle of the fifth century. We can gain insights into politics, as emperors used them for propaganda (we often see images of Peace when the empire was at war, Agreement when there were two or more rival emperors and The Glory of the Romans when the empire was under attack). We can even learn about hairstyles from the portraits of emperors and empresses!


1 December 2018
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
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