The Iron Age
and Roman
East Leicestershire

Iron Age and Roman

Project staff



Supported by

  • English Heritage
  • University of Leicester Archaeological Services
  • The British Museum
  • BBC

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The coins

The ritual site at Hallaton in Leicestershire has produced 5,296 Iron Age and Roman coins. Most were locally-made inscribed Iron Age coins, issued in about AD 20/30-50. These numbers mean that almost 10 percent of all known surviving British Iron Age coins were found at Hallaton. The true significance of this find, however, stems from the fact that many of these coins were recovered by archaeologists, during excavation, which allows us to relate them to the other activities at the site.

At least 14 coin hoards were buried in the entranceway of the enclosure ditch which dominated the site. Another hoard was buried with the Roman helmet. By comparing the Roman and Iron Age coins in these different hoards, we can say that they were all probably buried over a short period of time soon after the Roman invasion of AD 43 and before about AD 50. The fact that so many hoards were buried in such a small area and close to shallow pits containing pig bones, suggests that the coins were deposited as part of a religious event or events that also involved feasting or animal sacrifice.

Most of the Hallaton coins belong to a local style unique to an area covering the modern counties of Lincolnshire and Leicestershire. It is often referred to as ‘North Eastern coinage’ and attributed to the Corieltavi, the civitas or ‘tribe’ who are known to have inhabited this area in the Roman period. Before the discovery of Hallaton most people thought that the inscriptions on these coins could be used to assemble a list of the kings or rulers of the local tribe. By carefully studying the coins in the different hoards at the site, it has been possible to show that many of the inscribed coins were in fact struck at more or less the same time, during a period from about AD 20/30 until AD 50.

This has important consequences for our understanding of the societies of the North East Midlands in the late Iron Age. It is possible that rather than being united under a single king, the local population consisted of lots of smaller groups each with their own leader.

Coins found at Hallaton
  • 1

    Most of the hoards included Iron Age silver coins, as well as a small number of Iron Age gold and Roman silver coins

  • 2

    Silver coin inscribed VEPO [CORF]

  • 3

    Early uninscribed silver coin

  • 4

    Silver coin inscribed AVN [COST]