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Comments on Driffield hoard coins by Dr. John Sills

"Around 50 Corieltauvian staters, including a couple of plated coins, have been declared so far from the Driffield hoard. The great majority are from late in the South Ferriby series, but there are a handful of coins of VEP CORF, ESUPRASU and the last ruler of the tribe, DUMNOVELLAUNOS. The find is notable for the number of domino and kite types, scarce issues which stand at the very end of the uninscribed series; 11 domino and no less than 19 kite staters have been declared so far. Partly as a result of the hoard the domino type now die-links into the tail end of the uniface South Ferriby sequence, fixing its position within the series. The kite staters seem to follow on immediately from the domino type, despite their slightly higher weight.

Among the coins with unusual features is a so-called phallic type stater, the reverse of which is subsequently copied on the extremely rare trefoil type. In addition, there are five examples of a previously unrecorded variant of the kite type with three pellets in a row within the diamond; this is the earliest known kite reverse, and helps to link it with the domino type, where the pellets are always in a line.

Perhaps the most unusual feature of the hoard is the presence of very late inscribed coins alongside South Ferriby types, although a small find from Bedworth, Warwickshire contained kite and VEP CORF staters, albeit in separate parcels. The main body of the Driffield hoard is almost identical in composition to a larger hoard from a different site in East Yorkshire: the only difference is that the latter apparently has no inscribed issues. One possibility is that the two hoards were originally part of a single, large payment that was divided up after it crossed the Humber, and that the Driffield parcel was augmented with later inscribed issues before it was buried. The DUMNOVELLAUNOS staters were almost certainly struck around the time of the Claudian invasion, and allow the burial of the hoard to be dated to c.43 AD or even a little later, even though the bulk of it may have been assembled a decade or two earlier.

The question of why there are so many Corieltauvian coins from East Yorkshire is a difficult one, and Driffield suggests that many are connected in some way with the Roman invasion and were either deposited by refugees seeking sanctuary north of the Humber or with payments made by the Corieltauvi to the Brigantes and Parisi, perhaps in return for military assistance. Not everything need be associated with the invasion, however: there is a rapid acceleration in minting late in the South Ferriby series, coinciding exactly with the main types present in both stater hoards, and there seems to have been a political and/or military upheaval immediately before the appearance of legends on the coinage. One explanation for this is that North Lincolnshire, where the Driffield coins were struck, was conquered by a group from further south in the early 1st century AD, who brought with them the southern practice of adding ruler's' names to the coinage."
 

A. G. & S. Gillis
Copyright 2000 [A. G. & S. Gillis]. All rights reserved.
Revised: December 01, 2011.