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Meetings with Remarkable Forgeries (British History)
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Chad


In: Ramsbottom
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That Aethelred I coin must be pretty rare. Only 152 others are known to exist (from two hoards and the odd stray) yet they mention without any sense of excitement.

https://digventures.com/projects/lindisfarne/

https://www.britnumsoc.org/publications/Digital%20BNJ/pdfs/2007_BNJ_77_6.pdf
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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I'd have to check with Wiley but I think that's very common by the standard of Anglo-Saxon coins, though two hoards is pretty unusual to account for virtually all of them. However, in general, there is no dispute that Lindisfarne has always been well populated. Irrespective of whether (as we say) it's a Megalithically-constructed tidal island, it is a reasonable stretch of northern agricultural land and is certain to produce archaeology from all ages. My surprise arose from the fact that I would be startled if one season of digging would produce this array of goods from a reasonable stretch of northern agricultural land.

There is nothing there however to suggest the presence of a major monastery, the seat of a bishopric. And this is always the problem: the more they dig, the more glaring is this abscess. A major monastery on a tiny islet like Lindisfarne ought to dominate the archaeology not betray its presence by being serially unfindable.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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and the find was made by the mother of one of the team members, who was visiting the site for a day to celebrate her birthday

'For her birthday' just may be what we call 'overelaborate provenance syndrome'

I ought to explain this as it is a bit technical. And please remember I am not saying this is what happened on this occasion, I'm just using it as a for-instance. When you are inventing a fake provenance certain things have to be inserted which are not usually found in authentic provenances.

Let's say you want to put a fake find in a normal archaeological dig. First of all, you need to insulate yourself from exposure so it would be as well to have someone else find it. But that is not enough, you'll still get professional obloquy (and maybe a prison sentence) if that person has a close connection to you. But what if the find is genuine but from a different era? In other words, a gaming piece that would be routine from the fourteenth century but gets you the world's attention if from the eighth century. What happens if this is exposed?

"Ah well, it was my mum and she's not archaeologically trained so she probably dug it out from the wrong strata. Criticise us all you want for not supervising her properly but, hey, otherwise we didn't do anything wrong." Except for one thing. What was your mum doing there on the very day you found an object that got you global write-ups? "... er ... it was her birthday, I was giving her a treat." [Or my birthday, the wording leaves both possibilities open.] Oh, right, fair enough.

Nobody stops to think what kind of birthday treat is that? Nobody wonders why a middle aged woman is crossing the country to stay with her daughter who is away on her summer dig because her birthday happens to fall in the middle of it. Nobody would think to check whether it was her birthday. And nobody asks, "Why mention it in the first place?"
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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Chad wrote:
That Aethelred I coin must be pretty rare. Only 152 others are known to exist (from two hoards and the odd stray) yet they mention without any sense of excitement.

In September 2018 Lindisfarne DigVentures found an Aethelred coin which according to David Petts' interpretation is a 9th century coin depicting a less famous Aethelred about whom almost nothing is known

The coin we have found was issued by the Northumbrian king, Aethelred II, who ruled in the mid-9th century. He is not to be confused with the more famous Aethelred II (better known as ‘the Unready’). Very little is known about our Northumbrian Aethelred, there are very few records that give us an insight into the history of 9th century Northumbria, and those are late in date. It seems though that he probably succeeded Eanred as king and was most active c. 854-62. He seems to have been deposed as king by Raedwulf, who himself died fighting against the Vikings. The removal of Raedwulf allowed Aethelred to return to power, but he was killed not many years later.

The archaeological report for the 2019 dig mentions finding 'Anglo-Saxon coins' without any further information about quantity or type.

The Aethelred coin from the previous dig in 2018 is the only coin described but Prof Petts is a bit hazy about actual production. He's obliged to rely on the Ango-Saxon Chronicle and manuscript accounts from Durham's archive for info on Eanred (only one mention in the ASC)

This coin is of a type known as a styca, a small copper alloy coin containing a little silver. They were first produced by Eanred, and seem to have been produced in large numbers in York. The men responsible for minting the coins were recorded on the coins; in this case, our coin carries the name Fordred, who was probably based in York.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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So we now have Lindisfarne Aethelred 1 unearthed. In terms of conventional christian chronology, that will be interpreted as a coin, issued after 865 when he became king (the starting year of the Great Heathen Invasion) and before 871 when he died. I suspect there is not much excitement as your profs are wondering why a coin of a King of Wessex has turned up in an area where it wouldnt be expected. Not much known of the moneyer who it is thought was based in Canterbury. Plenty of scope for orthodox reasonable inference, these devout frugal monks were actually trading with areas far wider than first thought.....err, during an invasion.
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