Friday, 17 July 2009

"The UK finds database"

There was some "monetan" discussion on the Republican Roman coins in the Stratford Upon Avon 'four foot deep' hoard the bungled Daily Mail journalism of which was discussed in the post below. A collector, Ted Watts has a solution to the problem of how many such coins are found in British assemblages. Despite the fact that the pro-collecting lobby makes great efforts to present coin collectors as largely comprising erudite scholars busily researching and increasing our knowledge of the past, it was not through perusal of the literature on the subject. He goes straight to the source of those on the market:

Out of around 1113 Roman coins in the UK Finds
, 102 of the coins are listed as Republican or Imperatorial denarii or aureii (and there's one Republican AE). [...] While that may to be an accurate reflection of the balance of coins (would you be more likely to go to the trouble of reporting a Republican silver coin or your 200th cruddy bronze from one of Constantine's relatives?), the numbers do seem to imply a reasonable number of Republican denarii made it to Britain.
The collector has found the privately-run UK Detector Finds Database (sic) rather than directing his attention to the Portable Antiquities Scheme database which is much more ample and (claims to be) more representative. The UKDFD is a show-and-tell showcase for detectorists to boast about what they have found, and Mr Watts predicts is used by most of the contributors to sow the highlights of their personal collection rather than provide an objective record of what is being found. It has been running a couple of years now, 1113 Roman coins recorded there is hardly going to be representative of the proceeds of the exploitation of "productive sites" by ten thousand detector wielding collectors is it?

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