Trinovantian Copper Coin

Whilst I wait for the fields to be ploughed I have some time on my hands, hence I am able to share with you all the finds I made in my first season back in the Autumn of 2008.

Perhaps most surprising of all the finds was this little coin:

Trinovantes Copper Alloy Coin
Trinovantes Copper Alloy Coin
Trinovantes Copper Coin (Is this the obverse??)
Trinovantes Copper Coin (Is this the obverse??)

As you can tell its a tiny piece of copper alloy, with a barely legible decoration visible on both sides. However, it seems similar to those found in the collections detailed on the Portable Antiquities Scheme, so I guess I can claim to have found the first evidence of Iron Age population in Great Eversden.

Its a great find because it feeds nicely into the idea of continuous agrarian occupation of the land of the Bourn Valley. Typically these coins were minted in the first century BC, prior to the Roman conquest and were typical of the Trinovantian Group of Tribes – From WIKIPEDIA:

The Trinovantes or Trinobantes were one of the Celtic tribes that lived in pre-Roman Britain. Their territory was on the north side of the Thames estuary in current Essex and Suffolk, and included lands now located in Greater London. Their name derives from the Celtic intensive prefix “tri-” and “novio” – new, but possibly with an applied sense of vigorous or lively – so the name would mean “the very vigorous people”. Their capital was Camulodunum (modern Colchester), one proposed site of the legendary Camelot.

Shortly before Julius Caesar‘s invasion of Britain in 55 and 54 BC, the Trinovantes were considered the most powerful tribe in Britain. At this time their capital was probably at Braughing (in modern-day Hertfordshire). In some manuscripts of Caesar’s Gallic War their king is referred to as Imanuentius, although in other manuscripts no name is given. Some time before Caesar’s second expedition this king was overthrown by Cassivellaunus, who is usually assumed to have belonged to the Catuvellauni. His son, Mandubracius, fled to the protection of Caesar in Gaul. During his second expedition Caesar defeated Cassivellaunus and restored Mandubracius to the kingship, and Cassivellaunus undertook not to molest him again. Tribute was also agreed.

The next identifiable king of the Trinovantes, known from numismatic evidence, was Addedomarus, who took power ca. 2015 BC, and moved the tribe’s capital to Camulodunum. For a brief period ca. 10 BC Tasciovanus of the Catuvellauni issued coins from Camulodunum, suggesting that he conquered the Trinovantes, but he was soon forced to withdraw, perhaps as a result of pressure from the Romans, as his later coins no longer bear the mark “Rex”, and Addedomarus was restored. Addedomarus was briefly succeeded by his son Dubnovellaunus c. 105 BC, but a few years later the tribe was finally conquered by either Tasciovanus or his son Cunobelinus. Mandubracius, Addedomarus and Dubnovellaunus all appear in later, post-Roman and medieval British Celtic genealogies and legends as Manawydan, Aedd Mawr (Addedo the Great) and Dyfnwal Moelmut (Dubnovellaunus the Bald and Silent). The Welsh Triads recall Aedd Mawr as one of the founders of Britain.

The Trinovantes reappeared in history when they participated in Boudica‘s revolt against the Roman Empire in 60 AD. Their name was given to one of the civitates of Roman Britain, whose chief town was Caesaromagus (modern Chelmsford, Essex).

Their name survived in British legend as Trinovantum, the supposed original name of London, in Geoffrey of Monmouth‘s Historia Regum Britanniae and elsewhere. Geoffrey claimed the name derived from Troi-novantum or “New Troy“, connecting this with the legend that Britain was founded by Brutus and other refugees from the Trojan War.

So there we have it – Great Eversden now has a link to the Boudican Revolt (I know, I know its tenuous…but you cant blame me for trying).


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