Matthew Ball

"The Supply of Denarii to Britain in the Second Century"

"I am in the final year of my doctoral programme at Oxford. I have previously worked at the Department of Coins and Medals of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, and have been interested in Roman coinage since becoming a collector in my teenage years. I no longer collect (preferring instead to spend my disposable income on cheap pub wine), but have maintained a keen interest in Roman numismatics in Britain and am currently writing up the coin finds from the Roman fort at Binchester, County Durham. 

My doctoral research looks at the circulation of the denarius in the second century AD through the prism of coin hoards (sourced from the Coin Hoards of the Roman Empire Project database: I am particularly interested in the question of how far we can make use of hoarded denarii to reconstruct 'original' patterns of distribution: i.e., where the state was sending newly struck denarii in any given year, and - in cases where reverse designs are seen to concentrate in one region or another - why. In this respect, the second century, despite the rich variety of designs on the coinage, has not received the same attention as those following or preceding it, and investigations into 'targeted' and/or regionalised distribution according to reverse design have so far tended to focus on the base metal coinage. My analyses have turned up numerous examples from Britain and the European frontiers to suggest that denarii, far from being a fully mobile denomination, could and did pool in one region or another in ways that allow us to track where the state was sending them. I look forward to speaking about some of my findings concerning Britain and north-western Europe in July!"