Chris Rudd published a nice article in the latest issue of CoinsWeekly about the Celtic Coin Index. Here are some excerpts.
How and why was the Celtic Coin Index founded? And what is there to celebrate? Setting up an index of Celtic coins found in Britain was first thought of in 1959 by the archaeologist Professor Sheppard Frere, excavator of Verulamium and author of Britannia (1967), and the numismatist Derek Allen (1910-75), who authored five books on Celtic coins (four of them for the British Museum) and who was the undisputed ‘king of Celtic coins’ for thirty years.
Frere and Allen had previously collaborated on a coin gazetteer for Problems of the Iron Age in Southern Britain (1960) a collection of lectures given at a CBA conference held at the Institute of Archaeology, London, in 1958, which was edited by Frere and which contained Allen’s pivotal paper ‘The origins of coinage in Britain: a reappraisal.’
Philip de Jersey writes: “As a result of his collaboration with Allen on this gazetteer and the discovery that many coins had become separated from their findspots, Frere realised that unlike mass-produced modern coinage, Celtic coins each possessed a unique identity, having been individually struck and with small differences resulting from the position of the dies. It followed that a photographic record would tie each coin to its context – even if its provenance was forgotten in the future – and would also facilitate the detailed study of die-chains. Early in 1959, Allen and Frere thus conceived the idea of the CCI: a record of every British Celtic coin, plus continental Celtic coins found on British soil.
Today the CCI comes under the protective wing of Chris Gosden, Professor of European Archaeology, University of Oxford, and co-editor of Communities and Connections: Essays in Honour of Barry Cunliffe (Oxford 2007) and Rethinking Celtic Art (Oxbow 2008). Moreover, the CCI now houses one of the world’s finest libraries on Celtic numismatics, and at present the total number of CCI records exceeds 50,000 – an appropriate achievement for its 50th anniversary.
For fifty years the Celtic Coin Index at Oxford has quietly rendered a remarkable public service to British archaeology, British numismatics, British museums, British education, British scholarship and British metal detecting. It’s worth noting here that over 80 per cent of the coins recorded by the CCI – that’s four out of every five coins – have been found by metal detectorists since the 1970s. The growth of the CCI testifies to a commensurate increase in co-operation between professional archaeologists and amateur metal detectorists.
By the way, Happy second birthday to CoinsWeekly. Editor Ursula Kampmann's publication debuted October 16, 2009.
To read the complete article, see:
50 Years of Celtic Coin Index
To access the Celtic Coin Index, see:
Wayne Homren, Editor
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