Money and society

A major strand of Dr John Creighton's research has been into money and society, focusing on around 300 BC to AD 300.

"Earlier work looked at the circulation of coinage in Britain in the Roman period, though in the 1990s my research moved on to examine later Iron Age coinage in its social context. This involved examining ways of reading the political messages on the coinage and discussing what the iconography meant."

The changing imagery on British Iron Age coin as abstracted imagery gives way to Roman ideologically informed motifs.The principal output was 'Coins and Power in Late iron Age Britain'. The book examined the background to the first individuals in British history named on coins. It explored the way in which rulers bolstered their power through the use of imagery on coins, myths, language and material culture. After the visit of Caesar in 55 and 54 BC, the shadow of Rome played a fundamental role in this process. Combining the archaeological, literary and numismatic evidence, I tried to paint a vivid picture of how people in late Iron Age Britain reacted to the changing world around them.

"This book represents a major shift in interpretation away from the traditional picture … this is a book which will merit much picking over and debate … it is one which could fundamentally change our view of the Late Iron Age and the beginning of Roman Britain." Review by the Cambridge Archaeological Journal.

Currently research has focused back into the Roman period, with the massive boom in data caused by the reporting of finds through the Portable Antiquities scheme. A work of synthesis on monetisation and commodification in Britain is underway.


Book cover of ‘Coins and Power in Later Iron Age Britain’ (2000)Creighton, J. (2009) Herod's contemporaries in Britain and the West. In: Jacobson, D.M. and Kokkinos, N. (eds.) Herod and Augustus: Papers Presented at the IJS Conference 21st-23rd June 2005. Studies in Judea (6). Institute of Jewish Studies, London, pp. 361-381.

Williams, M. and Creighton, J. (2006) Shamanic practices and trance imagery in the Iron Age. In: de Jersey, P. (ed.) Celtic Coinage: new discoveries, new discussions. BAR International Series, Oxford, pp. 49-60.

Creighton, J. (2005) Cattle, community and corrals. Archaeological Dialogues, 12 (2). pp. 132-135. ISSN 1478-2294

Creighton, J. (2005) Gold, ritual and kingship. In: Wigg-Wolf, D. and Haselgrove, C.C. (eds.) Iron Age Coinage and Ritual Practices. Verlag Philipp von Zabern, Mainz am Rhein, pp. 69-84.

Creighton, J. (2005) Links between the classical imagery in post-Caesarian Belgica and the rest of the Roman world. In: Metzler, J. and Wigg, D. (eds.) Die Kelten und Rom: neue numismatische Forschungen. Studien zu Fundmünzen der Antike (SFMA) (19). Akademie der Wissenschaften und Literatur , Mainz-am-Rhein, pp. 87-108.

Creighton, J. (2000) Coins and Power in Late Iron Age Britain, Cambridge University Press, 249pp (now in paperback and kindle editions)

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