Ancient dog prints and Iron Age mint unearthed in England
Archaeologists excavating in Blackfriars, Leicestershire, England have uncovered ancient coin mould fragments, which they believe were used to produce the gold and silver coins of the famous Hallaton Treasure discovered in 2000, an internationally important Iron Age find comprising over 5,000 coins, among other artifacts. The team also found a Roman tile in the northern half of the site, with what appear to be dog paw imprints embedded in the ceramic.
The Hallaton Treasure is one of the most extensive archaeological finds from the time of the Roman Conquest of Britain and, in addition to the coins, included a Roman cavalry parade helmet, other unique silver objects, and the remains of around 400 pigs which were all buried at an Iron Age shrine in south east Leicestershire between 50 BC and 60 AD.
Coins from the Hallaton Treasure. Photo credit: Leicestershire County Council
In total, archaeologists uncovered over 20 coin moulds and, combined with other archaeological evidence, the researchers say they can conclude that the site was a 2,000-year-old Corieltauvi tribe mint. The Corieltauvi were a tribe of people living in Britain prior to the Roman conquest, who controlled most of the East Midlands, with Leicester as its capital. From the beginning of the 1st century, they began to produce inscribed coins: almost all featured two names, and one series had three, suggesting they had multiple rulers. It is believed that 4,835 of the coins discovered in Hallaton were from the Corieltauvi tribe, and archaeologists now believe that at least some of them were produced at the Blackfriars site.
"This is an exciting find and gives us an idea of where some of the Hallaton Treasure actually comes from," said senior project manager Nick Daffern.
In addition to the ancient mint, the team also found a Roman tile with dog paw imprints embedded in the ceramic, as well as some floor and roof tiles with sheep or goat prints.
"When tiles were made in Roman times, they used to get local clay and leave it out in the sun to dry and pets and animals used to escape across them leaving these kinds of imprints – it was quite a common thing to find,” said Mr Daffern.
The tiles were found within a Roman townhouse, which dates from about 100AD.
Featured image: The Roman tile with dog paw prints. Photo source: Leicester Mercury