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Coinage in the Northumbrian Landscape and Economy, c.575–c.867

Tony Abramson
Publication Year:
229 pages, Illustrated throughout in colour and black and white. 4 tables, 161 figures, 13 graphs, 9 maps, 23 illustrations (10 plates and 13 individual illustrations). With additional information online (databases and datasets)
BAR number:


This book presents the author’s digitization of Pirie’s substantial yet flawed corpus of 9th-century Northumbrian ‘stycas’. This database, enhanced by data from elsewhere, is compared by location with the artefactual database known as VASLE (created at the University of York, 2008) to demonstrate that the co-occurrence of coins and portable artefacts defines monetary evolution in Northumbria. Additionally, the author presents a new periodization and reveals the previously disparaged gold shillings of York to have been issued by Bishop Paulinus, a disruptive finding chronologically, with wider consequences. Northumbria benefited increasingly, both monetarily and fiscally, as the face value of coins fell. Other conclusions include the idea that Northumbrian coin production was erratic; that the Yorkshire Wolds were more highly monetized than the surrounding lowlands, indicating a more enterprising culture; that styca hoards represent episcopal expropriations; and that there were significant changes in settlement and economy in the central lowlands. This work demonstrates that monetization reflected northern independence, innovation and enterprise.

Tony Abramson has lectured and published widely on early medieval coinage, is president of the Yorkshire Numismatic Society and organises biennial symposia. He was awarded the British Numismatic Society’s Jeffrey North medal in 2017. His Sceatta List (second edition) was nominated for the 2018 International Association of Professional Numismatistsbook prize.

‘Northern England’s monetary history was quite distinct from that of the south in the pre-Viking period, and Abramson’s ambitious book is one of the few sustained discussions of it…[All] eight chapters…fizz with new information…There are aspects of Abramson’s methodology and conclusions that may be found controversial, but this important book should rightly serve to prompt fresh discussion.’ Rory Naismith, Current Archaeology, Issue 346, January 2019

‘The data is detailed and comprehensive and its interpretation has the benefit of the author’s expert knowledge of the crucial numismatic material. … The sheer depth and breadth of the chronological and geographical analysis of relevant Northumbrian finds … provides a unique perspective on the role of money in the community at that time.’ Dr Stewart Lyon, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London

‘Abramson’s project offers a combination of scope and detail that is not easily paralleled in existing literature. … As a significant and thorough analysis of monetary production and circulation in the north of England, [it] represents a significant contribution to knowledge.’ Dr Rory Naismith, King’s College London

Table of Contents (B641_9781407316536_ToC.pdf, 250 Kb) [Download]

Introduction (B641_9781407316536_Introduction.pdf, 186 Kb) [Download]