Exciting local discoveries and coinage made in the region both throw light on the way people lived here in the past. They also reveal the historical connections between Oxfordshire and the wider world, and how these have changed over time.
Coins have been found in the local area for centuries, but the introduction of metal detectors has greatly increased the quantities recovered. Over the years many coins have been reported to the Ashmolean Museum, and over the last decade thousands of finds of coins (and other artefacts) from Oxfordshire have been reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Coins may be discovered one at a time or in groups of any size (known as hoards), with hoards of thousands of coins found on occasions. Hoards were probably buried for a wide range of reasons, often perhaps by people wanting to keep their money safe but also they may have been buried as a ritual offering or some are no doubt nothing more than a lost purse. Those which their owners did not recover have remained in the ground for us to find. By contrast most of the individual coins which turn up were accidentally lost.
At certain times money was made locally, at regional or royal mints, by traders and manufacturers, and by banks. Local money illustrates local history, but is also part of a wider story of economic and social change at home and abroad. A range of both locally-made coinage and locally-found coinage can be found in the Museum’s Money Gallery. The Ashmolean has an extensive collection of coins, tokens and bank notes which were made in Oxfordshire over the centuries.
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22 May 2012