A #SpecialOffa from @britishmuseum's @findsorguk
Wat #EarlyMedieval material culture tells us about life in the Welsh Marches

I shall use the following tweets to highlight some of the most recent finds from the area and also to try and unpick what this means.

So the post Roman period from a finds perspective is best illustrated by ...
That seems really cruel, but the period post AD350 is amazingly barren apart from one or two landmark sites (such as Wroxeter). We do see some finds such as this gorgeous polychrome glass bead from Radnorshire.
Through recent treasure finds we do have an idea that by c. AD 450 the Roman monetary system had broken down to a bullion economy using recycled hack silver. The coins themselves have been clipped so badly that they are officially retched


It is highly likely though that trading routes with the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire were still open to the elites as shown through Sam Moorhead's work on Byzantine copper coins found in Britain

It is also echoed by finds such as this Massive Gold ring from South West Shropshire / #Clun Area which is difficult to parallel. It is now in @TheButterX

By the time we reach the 7th Century, things really do pick up with several significant finds of high status metalwork including the West Shropshire Pendant on display @shrewsmuseum

And the #DinhamPommel one of the earliest pieces of #ChristianArt from Shropshire depicting the Calvary complete with mushroom headed skulls and biting beasts

Even with these high status finds there is still a general lack of the everyday finds from ordinary folk

To illustrate this here is an Ansate brooch discovered in Newport and plotted against similar brooches on the @findsorguk database

So if there are few finds from everyday people can the money economy help.

Erm ... Not really or at least in the 7+8th century. It looks like the bullion / barter economy continues for a long time

In fact if we look at the later coinage the same sparse situation continues and it is only with the coinage of the #Medieval later #Plantagenets that we see something like a market economy emerge

This has been written about by Ed Besley and more recently @M_Andrews91

So ... If people aren't using finds or money in an expected way, what are their influences?

In the later period post AD 750 we see distinct Irish material

The casket mount was donated @shrewsmuseum

We also see material from the continent with this reused papal bulla of Pope Pascal I probably repurposed to firm a one ounce weight from #Herefordshire

Or this #Carolingian style sword belt mount from #Wrexham

As well as the late #Saxon style of Southern Britain as seen by this rather lush silvered pierced mount from Nannerch, #Flintshire

This mish-mash of cultural identities is seen best in some of the late Anglo-Scandinavian material

Including this pendant from #Oswestry formed fom a pressblech die for producing gold foil mounts

Horse trappings and this very fine almost complete bridle set from Chirbury that @Rob_Webley and I have been working on.

This melting pot of influences is really well shown by the #HerefordshireVikingHoard which hit the press last autumn when the finders were tried for #HerirageCrimes & theft. The story of which can be seen in recent article for @CurrentArchaeo

So what does this all mean, if I'm honest I don't think we know properly yet - I'm hoping @dwtpauline might have some ideas & I'm really looking forward to what those are & working together

At present we do not have enough raw data & what we do have leaves a confusing pattern
What I do know is that sites which produce dense assemblages of finds seem often include very high status objects but seem to be very spatially small, possibly under 1/4 of an acre in size. So are very difficult to find
#Leominster #Whitchurch

Finally, @findsorguk data on the 127 coins of #Offa and his associated bishops suggests absolutely no link whatsoever to #OffasDyke

But we all knew that - didn't we


I would just like to say a huge thank you to @howardmrw and all the people who have made today happen & let me ramble on this prolonged twitter thread

Please all stay well & strong and I look forward to saying more in person in the future .

Thank you #SpecialOffa

When the lockdown finishes & reality returns please visit @shrewsmuseum @HerefordMuseums

All are currently acquiring important @findsorguk artefacts through #Treasure so please contribute a donation to support them
You can follow @PeterReavill.
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