Iron Age coin of the Corieltauvi

Inscriptions on Iron Age coins are the first evidence of writing in Britain.

This gold stater coin was one of 5294 British Iron Age and Roman coins excavated at a Late Iron Age shrine near Hallaton, Leicestershire. It was made by the Corieltauvi tribe (the local British group living around Hallaton) in the mid 1st century AD.

British Iron Age coins were influenced by coins made by tribes on the continent which were themselves copies of Greek coins. The head of Apollo wearing a laurel wreath has become a stylised wreath with pellets and crescents on the front. Greek coins depict a two-horse chariot on the back; here the design has been transformed into the distinctive Corieltauvian horse made up of disjointed crescents.

This British coin features the inscription VEP CORF in the Latin alphabet. This shows that Roman culture was influencing Iron Age Britons in the 1st century AD.

Iron Age coins were probably not used as money but exchanged as gifts between rulers and buried in the ground as gifts to the gods.

Source: BBC – History of the World