durotriges

Pre-Roman, White Gold Stater of the Durotriges Celts of Britain

Circa 65 BC - 45 AD
Obverse:  Abstract head of Apollo facing right with a wreath.
Reverse:  Disjointed horse facing left, the tail has three strands pointing up, a pellet below horse, a small elliptical pellet above horse and a coffee bean above the tail.

Durotriges were more a tribal confederation than a tribe. They were one of the groups that issued coinage before the Roman conquest in 42 AD. They were located in modern Dorset, south Wiltshire, south Somerset and Devon east of the River Axe, South West England.

The Durotriges coins were rather simple and had no inscriptions, and thus no names of coin-issuers can be known, let alone evidence about monarchs or rulers. Nevertheless, the Durotriges presented a settled society, based in the farming of lands surrounded and controlled by strong hill forts that were still in use when the Romans invaded in 43 AD. Maiden Castle is a preserved example of one of these hill forts.

Not surprisingly, the Durotriges resisted Roman invasion in AD 43, and the historian Suetonius records some fights between the tribe and the second legion Augusta, then commanded by Vespasian. By 70 AD, the tribe was already Romanised and securely included in the Roman province of Britannia.

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On a more serious dig related note, yesterday was the last day of excavation, and Freya, Tom and I discovered this Roman column, embedded deep in the top contexts of a Roman pit. We thought it was a capital at first, but the top of it is completely flat, so it may be the bottom (so it’s essentially upside down).

This find confirmed the theory that the Roman building that has been being excavated on site is indeed a Roman villa.